31 Flavors of Football: Mullen the Salesman

To help you and me get through the drudgery of August, I will present in this space a daily scoop of MSU football-ness, as inspired by a certain ice cream chain. August has 31 days, so I’ll let you work it out from there. Here is today’s flavor.


I caught some flak a while back for comparing Dan Mullen to a used car salesman, but I didn’t mean it as an insult. What I was saying is that he has the ability to sell the right people a product that, historically, has been a lemon. Everybody knows MSU football ain’t Florida or Georgia or LSU. There are plenty of folks who look at what Mullen is trying to do and scoff – because his goals exceed anything MSU has done consistently, or in some cases, has done at all.

Mullen has convinced quality coaches to join the staff. His recruiting classes have gotten stronger – the 2013 group is extremely promising – which means he’s been able to sell kids on MSU over other big-time SEC schools. The first group of people Mullen sold on MSU football, of course, was the fanbase. Skeptics were and still are littered throughout Bulldog fandom, but the vast majority believe Mullen can deliver the goods he’s pitching.

How else to explain selling out season tickets in 2010 after a 5-7 season? How to explain the excitement and anticipation of that offseason? Surely the upset of Ole Miss helped, and perhaps the buzz would not have been as high if not for that, but Mullen has sustained that buzz even after a so-so 7-6 mark last year.

He truly has something of quality to sell now. The football complex is coming together, Davis Wade Stadium is getting a $75 million expansion, and the Bulldogs appear to have the mixture of depth and experience – plus a strong throwing quarterback – to make them a tough out even in the merciless SEC Western Division.

While Mullen certainly rubs some people the wrong way – from prospects to fellow coaches – he has a charisma that is essential to a coach in his position. He tells people his vision, and they believe him. The more that believe, the more likely the hoped reality becomes, and the easier it is for Mullen to sell others on MSU.

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