Report: Memphis' Mike Norvell 'Leading Candidate' to Become FSU Head Coach

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2019

Memphis head coach Mike Norvell watches the action against South Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The Florida State Seminoles reportedly found a "leading candidate" to become their next head football coach.

According to Mark Schlabach and Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com, Memphis head coach Mike Norvell is in that position after succeeding with the Tigers the past four seasons. Memphis is 11-1 in 2019 and will play the Cincinnati Bearcats in Saturday's American Athletic Conference championship game.

It is the team's third straight conference title game under his direction.

Norvell has a 37-15 record with Memphis and has finished with double-digit wins in two of his four campaigns. For perspective, the Tigers won less than eight games every season but two from 1974 through 2013.

Schlabach and Rittenberg called him "one of the most respected offensive minds in college football" and pointed to the fact the Tigers scored 30 or more points in 43 of the 53 games with him on the sidelines.

Florida State could use a boost like that as a blue-blood program that has fallen on hard times of late.

The Seminoles fired Willie Taggart nine games into the campaign and finished 6-6 on the year. They lost in embarrassing fashion to archrivals Florida (40-17) and Miami (27-10) and have fallen far behind Clemson as the powerhouse of the conference.

Florida State also went 5-7 last year under Taggart and missed a bowl game for the first time since 1981, which was before it joined the ACC.

The program is not far removed from a stretch under Jimbo Fisher when it won double-digit games in six of seven seasons, as well as a national championship, from 2010 through 2016. If Norvell can parlay his success at Memphis to Florida State, perhaps the once proud program can rediscover its place in the college football hierarchy.