Fans must have been doing flashbacks Saturday afternoon as former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow interviewed new Gators head coach Dan Mullen on SEC Nation.
Mullen, of course, was Tebow’s offensive coordinator on two national championship teams in 2006 and 2008 under Urban Meyer, and the QB asked Mullen what advice he received this week from Meyer about taking over in Gainesville.
“One, he was like, ‘Hey, you’ve done an amazing job. You are deserving of any opportunity that comes your way and I’m going to support you with whatever decision you decide to make.’ But he said, ‘You know, no matter what you do, no matter where you go, be you. Be who you are. Be the coach you’ve been because it works. You look at the success and you had unprecedented success at Mississippi State, take that with you and be who you are and continue to coach the way that you coach and you’re going to be successful,'” Mullen shared.
Mullen caught his career break by joining Meyer’s coaching staff at Bowling Green as the QBs coach in 2001-02 and then followed Meyer to Utah and Florida, serving as the offensive coordinator in Gainesville from 2005-08.
They went their separate ways from there as Mullen spent the last nine seasons at Mississippi State and Meyer left Florida after the 2010 season, later taking over at Ohio State.
At 69-45, Mullen posted the best winning percentage (.605) of any Mississippi State coach since 1949 and has the second-most wins overall in program history behind Jackie Sherrill.
Mullen posted a 10-win season, two 9-win seasons and was 8-4 this year prior to a bowl game at a school that had just one season of more than 8 wins since 1981 prior to his arrival.
“What he’s done at Mississippi State is historic on so many levels,” Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin, who spent eight years with Mullen in Starkville, said after formally introducing his new head coach Monday.
The standard for success was different at Mississippi State than it will be at Florida. Here, Mullen will be expected to restore the program to its previous heights and compete for national championships.
He didn’t shy away from those expectations while speaking to reporters Monday, and he said in his conversation with Tebow on Saturday that he hopes to one day compete against Meyer, his mentor, on the game’s biggest stage.
“I hope I get the opportunity to play against him, kind of that second week of January right there. I know we’d love to compete against each other about that week,” Mullen said.