Memphis HC Mike Norvell Reportedly Agrees to Contract to Be FSU's New Head Coach

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 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

Florida State University has agreed to a deal with Memphis head football coach Mike Norvell to lead the Seminoles, according to ESPN's Chris Low.

FSU has not confirmed the news but said in a statement that it would introduce its next coach at noon ET on Sunday in a press conference.

Norvell will replace Willie Taggart, who was fired after a 4-5 start this season. Taggart posted a record of just 9-12 in parts of two seasons with the Seminoles, and in 2018 they failed to qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 1981.

The 38-year-old Norvell was hugely successful in four seasons as the head coach at Memphis. He led the Tigers to at least eight wins in each of his four years at the helm, and they reached the AAC Championship Game in each of the past three campaigns.

This season was Norvell's most successful one as a head coach, as he led the Tigers to a 12-1 record and a conference championship.

Memphis won at least nine games in each of the two seasons before Norvell took over, but before that, the Tigers had just two seasons with eight-plus wins (2003 and 2004) since going 8-3 in 1973.

Norvell brought a high-octane offensive attack to Memphis; the Tigers ranked 15th, second, seventh and eighth in the nation in scoring in his four years as head coach.

The Irving, Texas, native was a standout wide receiver at Central Arkansas before going on to coach at Central Arkansas, Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State. Norvell was the passing game coordinator at Tulsa, co-offensive coordinator at Pitt and offensive coordinator at ASU.

Over the past three seasons, the Seminoles have struggled offensively, ranking 71st, 113th and 67th in the nation in scoring.

Norvell is the type of offensive mind who can potentially turn the Seminoles' misfortunes around on that side of the ball, and there will be a great deal of pressure on him to do so.

Norvell will be Florida State's third different permanent head coach in four seasons, and the Seminoles can ill afford to fall further away from their longtime status as an elite program.

FSU is now six years removed from its last national championship and three years removed from its last 10-win season, but there is hope for a return to that status with Norvell in the fold.