In today’s opinion offering, I write about the need for MSU to keep its football coaching staff intact, and that pay raises could help accomplish that. But I also wrote that, according to athletics director Scott Stricklin, money isn’t what’s important to Dan Mullen when it comes to his employment.
As Stricklin said in my column of his conversations with Mullen, “salary never comes up unless I bring it up.” That’s telling, because Mullen figures to be in line for a raise, yet he’s not lobbying for it. Perhaps he’s confident enough in his accomplishments to know that a reward will come.
And Stricklin did say that MSU would “reward him for the work he’s done.” Question is, how much of that reward has to do with other schools’ interest in Mullen? You know, preemptive measures With Urban Meyer resigning yesterday, Mullen’s name is near or at the top of Florida’s list, but he says he’s happy at MSU. He’s denied being contacted by any schools – Miami is also reportedly interested, or at least was – and has stated more than once his commitment to Mississippi State.
If Florida did come calling, I really don’t think MSU could match the money. Not that UF would pay him Meyer money (he got about $4 million this year), but it would be way more than the $1.2 million Mullen’s getting from State.
Ultimately, I don’t think money will be what takes Mullen away from Starkville. Stricklin doesn’t think it will, either.
“I don’t know if there’s ever been a coach leave Mississippi State because they weren’t being paid enough, and I doubt there ever will be,” Stricklin said last week.
Forgive me for doing some rehashing here, but I’m trying to piece together a picture of exactly what Mullen is after, and what he said Sunday sums it up pretty well: “There’s a lot of great things that I think we can get done here at Mississippi State that I want to accomplish here at Mississippi State, and I plan on being the head coach here for a long time.”
Mullen comes across to me as a guy who loves a challenge. And let’s be honest, the situation he took over was a challenge many thought too formidable for even the best coach to tackle. But you see where’s taken things thus far, and his proclamations of SEC championships don’t seem quite as far-fetched now.
Taking over at Florida would be a challenge, too, though. That is what would attract him to that job more than anything, and if the Gators came calling, it’s not hard to imagine him saying yes.
• I texted offensive line coach John Hevesy yesterday, and he got back with me this morning, saying that Meyer “was a great teacher and mentor to me. I wish him all the best.”
Hevesy worked for Meyer at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida and came to MSU when Mullen was hired. When I asked Hevesy if he’s been contacted by Florida about Mullen or any potential job openings, he did not immediately respond.