After a 23-24 overtime loss to Missouri, the University of Florida has fired Dan Mullen as their head football coach. ESPN was the first to report the news. Mullen was in the middle of his fourth year as the Gators head coach. The Gators kept up with the Tigers for most of Saturday. However, in their loss to Samford the week before they gave up more points to an FCS team than any FBS team in college football history. The writing was on the wall before they took the field against Missouri.
Mullen’s Tenure At Florida
During his head coaching career at Florida, Mullen finished with a 34-15 record. Mullen arrived to Gainesville in November of 2017 after Florida has just parted ways with then head coach Jim McElwain.
In his first season at Florida, Mullen turned a 4-7 team to a 10-3 team which included a Peach Bowl victory over the Michigan Wolverines. He would follow that season up with another impressive season and finished inside the top 10. During the 2019 season, Florida went 11-2 with an Orange Bowl win against the Virginia Cavaliers.
The Florida Gators went into the 2020 season as a darkhorse candidate to win the National Championship. The Gators had a historic offense as their quarterback, Kyle Trask, broke the record for most passing touchdowns in a season by a Gators quarterback.
Even with a historic offense and Heisman contending quarterback, Florida finished with an 8-4 record. Mullen and the Gators did win the SEC East title but lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
One reason Florida failed to reach their high expectations was their historically bad defense led by defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Even with a historically bad defense, Grantham somehow was retained for the 2021 season, but was fired after the loss to South Carolina. That was thought to be enough to save Mullen’s job but the performance against an FCS team was a bridge too far.
In his final season at Florida, Mullen went 5-5 with losses to Alabama, Kentucky, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina. Since the loss to LSU in 2020, Mullen and the Gators are 4-8 with their only wins against FAU, USF, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. In their last ten games against Power Five Opponents, Florida is 2-8.
The 2021 season is not over yet as the Gators still have two regular season games remaining on their schedule. The Gators still have to play Missouri and Florida State. The coaching search at the University of Florida has begun.