Florida close to hiring coach from another SEC school

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen speaks with punter Logan Cooke following the team's 31-28 loss to Mississippi in an NCAA college football game in Starkville Miss. Thursday Nov. 23 2017

Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen is in the last stages of becoming next coach of the Florida Gators according to multiple reports.

Yahoo Sports and ESPN have reported Mullen to be the Gator's choice.

Mullen, who is 69-46 in nine years at Mississippi State, would be returning to the school where he made his name as an offensive coordinator on two national title teams under Urban Meyer.

Spurned by Chip Kelly and seemingly unwilling to risk waiting for UCF's Scott Frost to possibly do the same, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin turned to Mullen. But he did a commendable job in Starkville, especially when you see the progress quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald made on his watch.

The hiring of Mullen would mark the first significant hire for athletic director Scott Stricklin, who began his tenure at Florida in the fall of 2016. The school fired head coach Jim McElwain in October after the Gators got off to a 3-4 start, and they were no better under Randy Shannon, going 1-3 over their final four games of the year.

One big negative is a 2-18 Mississippi State record against top 25 teams, including losses to Auburn, Georgia and Alabama this season.

If it turns out Florida settles for one New Hampshire native, Dan Mullen, as its next head football coach after another one, Chip Kelly, chose to bolt for UCLA, that's a pretty good consolation prize.

AP's source said the Gators are Mullen are working toward a deal. It also failed to qualify for a bowl game in 2013, when it went 4-8 under Will Muschamp.

Mullen replaces Jim McElwain, who was sacked in midseason.

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