Florida AD Talks Emotional Toll of Mullen Hire

Andy Berg Headshot

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin copped to the fact that shopping for football coaches is stressful, especially when you decide on one currently employed by your alma mater. 

Florida recently hired Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen to lead its football program. Stricklin told SEC Country that stress isn’t a normal part of his job. “It was pretty stressful. You’re like in a cave. Even when you’re out in public you don’t feel normal,” he said.

Stricklin, an MSU alum, said that hiring away from his alma mater involved a bit of a “personal price” for him.

“That was a dominant part of my thoughts when I would think about Dan,” Stricklin said. “I didn’t worry could Dan do the job, I didn’t worry would he fit in here or would he understand the culture, any of that piece. Certainly didn’t [question] could he fix our offense and develop quarterbacks. A lot of my time when I thought about Dan was the MSU piece and seeming disloyal to my alma mater. That still bothers me.”

Mullen was responsible for turning around the program at MSU. He left the program with a 69-46 record. Stricklin admitted there are a lot of people he knows that will never forgive him for poaching the coach from the program. But Stricklin said that there was a good chance Mullen, after nine years at MSU, was going to leave eventually anyway.

“I’ve probably lost some friendships that I’ll never get back over it. But that’s OK. Your true friends will understand,” Stricklin said, but added that he’s glad he made the move. “I hope Dan’s here for a long, long time and we don’t have to go through that again,” he said. “Because it takes a toll on you mentally, physically and emotionally. But we ended up in a good spot.”

MSU hired Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead to fill the vacancy left by Mullen. Florida will face MSU on Sept. 29 next year.  

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