From the minute he was introduced as head coach of the Gators and the days since then, it’s been hard to miss Dan Mullen’s smile.
On Saturday morning, it was on display yet again as Mullen joined the ESPN College GameDay crew in Charlotte, which will be the site of the ACC Championship Game between No. 1 Clemson and No. 7 Miami.
Mullen was asked about the decision to leave Mississippi State to lead Florida’s program.
“It really came down to my wife, who said, “We’ve had opportunities in the past and you’ve had different people call. I got the phone call from [Florida athletic director] Scott Stricklin and he said, ‘Hey, you are the guy we want to hire.’
I looked at my wife, normally we have discussions, is it the right time, is this good, is that good, and I looked at my life and she said, ‘You might as well go pack because your face just changed.’ We’re ready for the challenge.”
The feelings that Mullen described in that moment came off as genuine, and that was especially clear as he gave a Gator chomp on his way off the set.
From the introductory press conference, to that segment on college gameday, it's so evident that #Florida hit a home run with Dan Mullen. I've never seen a coach so genuinely happy to be with a program pic.twitter.com/GijQc1ZSlK
— Zach Dean (@ZachDeanDBNJ) December 2, 2017
In nine seasons at Mississippi State, Mullen posted a 69-46 record (.600). He’ll be taking over for Jim McElwain, who went 22-12 (.647) in his three seasons at Florida, which will miss the postseason for the second time in the last five seasons.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have been a staple during bowl season ever since Year 2 under Mullen in 2010. Over that same span, Florida ranked among the three worst offenses in the SEC in yards per game in each of those eight years. That includes 2017, where the Gators are ranked 13th.
Mississippi State introduced former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead as Mullen’s successor on Thursday.