Minutes after officially announcing the hiring of Dan Mullen as their next football coach, the Florida Gators began the process of selling that hire to the Florida fan base.
Step one: A letter from athletic director Scott Stricklin to fans, both posted to the team’s official website and emailed to boosters. It is reproduced in full below.
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I introduce to you the University of Florida's 27th head football coach, Dan Mullen.
As we embarked on this coaching search a couple of weeks ago, there were key traits we were looking for in the new head coach, such as a strong work ethic and great competitiveness. We wanted to determine if he had the toughness and confidence to lead our young men and be the face of this program. Coach Mullen embodies these traits and is ready for the challenges ahead.
I also wanted Florida football to be fun again. Fun for our fans, student-athletes, staff and this University.
Dan Mullen certainly checks those boxes and so many more. He will put together an organized plan to compete for championships and make us all proud.
The search was exhaustive, one that has included countless conversations with people in the college football industry and a thorough review of statistical and analytical data trends on numerous candidates.
In the end, I strongly believe Dan is the most prepared candidate to have immediate and long-term success at the University of Florida. Coach Mullen is one of the best offensive minds in all of college football, and has an unbelievable track record in tutoring successful quarterbacks (such as Alex Smith, Chris Leak, Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald.)
Coach Mullen will do a tremendous job in developing accountability and toughness through a well-coordinated strength and conditioning program. Dan will work closely with the coaching staff, academic advising staff and administrative team to give every student athlete he coaches the opportunity to grow and excel at a high level athletically, academically and socially.
Dan has obviously been a part of some of the greatest moments in Florida football history when he was the offensive coordinator for the Gators from 2005-08. Those teams won two national championships, two SEC Championships, featured the first sophomore Heisman Trophy winner and won 23 of 25 games in The Swamp.
He built similar great moments at Mississippi State, leading them to a school-record, eight-consecutive bowl berths, and to the school's first-ever number one ranking during a five-week stretch in 2014, which included the Bulldogs earning the No. 1 spot in the inaugural College Football playoff ranking.
On a personal level, this was a challenging situation because I'm proud of the job Dan did at MSU, my alma mater. However, as the Gators' Athletic Director, my sole responsibility is to make decisions that are best for the University of Florida, and that is why Dan Mullen is our new head football coach.
Thanks for your continued support as we move into the next chapter of Florida football and for the loyalty and passion you have for Gator Athletics.
Let's go have some fun, and let's Go Gators!
Your thoughts are welcome in the comments.