Urban Meyer Leaving Florida; Would Mullen Leave Mississippi State?

Brad LockeContributor IDecember 26, 2009

STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Tim Tebow # 15 of the Florida Gators and Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen greet one another following the game, at Davis Wade Stadium on  October 24, 2009 in Starkville, Mississippi  (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
Rick Dole/Getty Images

A last-minute entry for sports story of the year is Urban Meyer ‘s unexpected resignation as Florida’s head football coach. The man who’s won two BCS titles with the Gators, cited health reasons for his resignation, which was announced earlier this evening.

This is causing Mississippi State fans to rightly wonder, would Bulldog head coach Dan Mullen consider applying for that job? After all, he and Meyer are as tight as brothers, and they’ve only been apart for a year. They were together from 1999-2008, first joining up at Notre Dame as fellow assistants. Mullen then followed Meyer to Bowling Green, Utah, and Florida.

Florida is the premier head coaching job in the country right now. Obviously, it would be a step up for Mullen. A huge step, which is why he probably would not be seriously considered as a candidate. He’s only got one year of head coaching experience and even though it was a strong debut, Gainesville is in a different universe; a universe he’s been in, but never been the center of attention like Meyer.

But let’s say he would be considered, would Mullen leave MSU? I hope to get a definite answer from the man himself. I’ve made an interview request for Mullen, so hopefully he’ll be willing to talk about this situation.

To paraphrase the great philosopher Chris Rock , a football coach is only as faithful as his options. There are exceptions (see: Boise State’s Chris Petersen)  and Mullen has pledged his allegiance to MSU.

In a meeting with reporters earlier this month, Mullen said, “I have no interest in leaving. My family’s very happy here.” He said that on the heels of his name being dropped in the Kansas head coaching search, but Kansas ain’t Florida. It’s an awfully big carrot for Mullen to not at least look at it and wonder.

He’s 37, Meyer is 45, which means he was 41 when he first coached a game at Florida. Youth is not a huge deterrent for athletics directors these days, but the experience factor is very big for a job like this. I really don’t think Mullen would be hired by UF, but the mere fact that he’s so well-connected to the program is certainly cause for anxiety among the MSU fanbase.

Take this for what it’s worth, though: Lou Holtz just said on ESPN that he would look at  two coaches: Mullen and Kyle Whittingham , the Utah coach and another Meyer disciple.