Editor's note: this is not the consensus opinion of the staff, and we will be profiling many other candidates.
The Miami Hurricanes continue to look for the next Head Coach for the football program. As their search continues, so does our series profiling the potential candidates for the Head Coaching position.
Today, we look at an SEC coach who was once considered for this job when Al Golden got it, but could be just the man to help right the ship now that Golden is gone: Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen.
The total package
So, Miami is looking for a coach. One that can identify and develop talent. One that can go up against the biggest and best teams on the schedule and win. One that has experience as a HC, and a substantial record of building for success. Oh, and maybe a little bit of a jerk streak to him.
Good for Miami, Dan Mullen has all of those traits.
Let's take a look at Mullen's resume, shall we?
- 54-34 record in his 7th year at Mississippi State (his first head coaching job)
- QB coach for Urban Meyer at Bowling Green
- QB coach for Urban Meyer at Utah who helped Alex Smith become a Heisman finalist and Brian Johnson, who led Utah to 13-0 season.
- OC/QB coach for Urban Meyer at Florida where he coached Chris Leak and Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Tebow.
- Coordinated offenses of 2 National Championship teams at UF (2006, 2008)
The Offense. No matter where you look along Mullen's career, the offenses he's run have been effective. Mullen's power spread was the foundation for 2 National Championships, and have put up many points over the years. In the last 2 years, Mullen's offenses have averaged 33.5 and 36.9 points per game, respectively. That'll work in any league.
Quarterbacks. If there's one thing Dan Mullen knows, it's the QB position. He's coached it for years, and the proof of his expertise is palpable. Brian Johnson. Alex Smith. Chris Leak. Tim Tebow. Dak Prescott. Plan and simple, this man can coach the most important position on the field as good as anyone in America. Now, think about Mullen in Miami with Brad Kaaya, and Malik Rosier, and Evan Shirreffs, and Jack Allison and (insert future recruits here). Yeah, that's a happy thought.
Recruiting. Look, Starkville, MS is one of the hardest places to recruit to in America. It's the clear 2nd school in the State of Mississippi, and there is, on average, less talent in that State than most. And, if there is top talent, they're going to Ole Miss or another SEC rival. BUT, in spite of that, Mullen has slowly turned the tide of talent on the Bulldogs. Through a smart recruiting plan (starting out with JUCOs early in his tenure, then working mainly on developing 3-star talents over years once that talent foundation was established, Mullen has raised the quality and depth of his roster in a sustainable way.
My point? If Mullen, who has recruited to UF previously, can put together a plan to get Mississippi State's roster more talented, you can be sure that he would be able to do the same for the University of Miami, which already has a top 20 roster in America based on talent alone.
Head Coaching record. Mullen is 20 games over .500 while coaching AT MISSISSIPPI STATE. I rest my case.
A chance to win. Look, Mississippi State's ceiling is 2nd in the SEC west. Mullen got them there in 2014, and that's as good as it's going to get for the Bulldogs. Their last SEC title was in 1941. And that streak is going to continue as long as Alabama, Auburn, and LSU are in the same division.
At Miami, Mullen has a great chance to win, and win big. The Coastal is an average division AT BEST, and the Canes have the talent on the roster to win that, but they need a coach of Mullen's ability to help guide them there. Then, the only thing between the Canes and the CFB Playoff would be a re-match with rival FSU or Clemson in the ACC Championship game. A path that, while tough to be sure, is nowhere near as daunting a gauntlet as the SEC West.
SEC record. Look, Mullen has done good things at Mississippi State, but his SEC conference record cannot be overlooked. In his time in Starkville, Mullen's teams are 26-29 in conference. Winning matters, and Miami DESPERATELY wants to win. That starts in conference (yanno, like winning the Coastal for the first time ever), and Mullen, whose teams have never been to the SEC championship game, has struggled to do that against top competition.
1 Job. Mullen has done a good job at Mississippi State. But, that's the only head coaching job he's had. He's cultivated and grown that program for the past 7 years, and maybe that's the place for him.
Recruiting. Yes, this is a strength and a weakness. Mullen has done a decent job getting talent to Mississippi State, but it's mostly been 3 star talent who he and his staff have had to develop (something at which they've done a FANTASTIC job). At Miami, 3-star talents won't be good enough to compete for Championships, Division, Conference, or National. Yes, the average 3-star kid from South Florida is better than a 3-star kid from most other places, but the foundation of the roster needs to be high end, 4-star and 5-star talent. Mullen has gotten a few of these players over the years, but I'm not quite sure he can load up on them every year.
Money. I'll keep this short: Mullen makes $4.3 Million at Mississippi State. Is Miami matching or beating that? If so, will we continue to spend what's necessary for Mullen to build a good staff? Historical signs point to "no" on both questions. Recent chatter suggests a change. I'll wait to believe that until I see it.
Second Time a Charm?
Like I said in the lede, Dan Mullen was considered for the Head Coaching job in 2011....when we hired Al Golden. So, there's been some connection between Mullen and Miami in the past.
Anecdotally, there were stories that Mullen's brash personality led Miami to move in another direction. In short: Mullen was too much of a jerk for Miami to hire. If you've read this series of pieces, I believe the Canes need to embrace our inner jerk moving forward. And Dan Mullen, a man with nearly a decade of coaching experience in the SEC, may be the man who can lead that charge.
He's a man with a plan, the ability to work that plan, and has competed in the toughest division in the College Football for nearly a decade. He's young, he's energetic, and he's ready to take the next step up and win big.
And that's why Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen should be hired as the next head coach of the Miami Hurricanes.