Mississippi State

Florida hires Dan Mullen as its next football coach

Florida has hired Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen as its next coach.
Florida has hired Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen as its next coach. Associated Press

Florida named Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen its next football coach.

The Gators announced Sunday the hiring of Mullen, who replaces Jim McElwain, who was fired last month. Greg Knox was named MSU’s interim coach. The Bulldogs (8-4) will learn their bowl destination next week.

Florida officials contacted Mullen the day after the Bulldogs’ 31-28 loss to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl, according to Yahoo Sports.

Mullen met with MSU players Sunday to inform them he was switching SEC Divisions.

At MSU, Mullen went 69-46 and helped developed Conerly Trophy winning quarterback Dak Prescott, now a starter with the Dallas Cowboys. Three years ago, MSU spent five weeks ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll. Under Mullen, MSU was 5-2 in Bowl games.

MSU president Mark E. Keenum said in a statement that the school anticipated a coaching change. He also expects MSU Athletic Director John Cohen “will move quickly and decisively to fill our coaching vacancy.”

Mullen, 45, has two connections to Florida. Former MSU Athletic Director Scott Stricklin is the Gators’ Athletic Director. Mullen was also the Gators’ offensive coordinator from 2005 to 2008 under Urban Meyer. During that span, Mullen also worked with eventual Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow at Florida. He was a part of two national title teams in 2006 and 2008.

“Megan and I are very excited to get back to Gainesville and the University of Florida,” Mullen said. “I have such great memories of the championships we won during our time here and have a love for Florida. We are happy to be coming back to such a supportive administration, staff, student body and fan base, which is the premier football program in the country.”

The Gators finished 5-6 this season.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones