Miami football should consider Dan Mullen with CBS report he’s on hot seat

Aug 24, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

A report from CBS Sports that Dan Mullen could be on the hot seat at Florida could turn into a huge opportunity for the Miami football program. How Florida and Miami finish their seasons will ultimately determine if the Gators and Hurricanes are in the market for new head coaches. Mullen would likely get at least another year.

Mullen received a three-year contract extension in July that takes him through 2026. Mullen is currently receiving $7.6 million per season. The number 20 Gators lost as a 10.5 point favorite at LSU on Saturday. LSU defeated Florida for the fourth time in five years. Three of the four LSU victories came as an unranked team.

Florida was ranked in all three of those losses. The Tigers’ victory over the Gators was not enough to save LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. Orgeron and LSU agreed he would step down at the end of 2021. LSU is 9-8 after becoming the first college football team to finish a season 15-0 in 2019 and winning the National Championship.

With Orgeron on his way out in Baton Rouge, Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports suggests that Mullen could currently be the SEC Coach most on the hot seat. Fornelli poses that LSU parting ways with Orgeron could make life more difficult for Mullen. No conference in college football puts as much pressure on its coaches to win as the SEC.

"“The problem Mullen faces is that Saturday was not an isolated incident. On the contrary, it marks the second straight season the Gators have lost to an LSU team in flux, and it drops them 4-3 on the season and 2-3 in the SEC. The team’s hopes of winning a division title are nonexistent…It fell out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since September 2018, Mullen’s first season in Gainesville. Mullen is 33-12 at Florida, including 21-10 in the SEC. It’s a better record than Jim McElwain when he got canned, but Mullen wasn’t brought back to Gainesville to simply improve on McElwain.He’s there to compete for national titles like the Gators did when he was offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, and right now, this team feels like it’s far away from that goal. To be clear, I’m not saying I think Mullen should be fired.In fact, It would be foolish of Florida to do so right now and he deserves at least one more season before it’s seriously considered. But this is the SEC. You don’t need to ask Orgeron twice what that means, and now, Mullen is next in line for the meat grinder.”"

There are multiple obstacles to Mullen being hired to Miami. The first would be the asking price for Mullen. It is highly unlikely Mullen would leave Florida following the 2021 season. If he did, this offseason will be highly competitive. In addition to LSU and potentially Miami, USC has an opening and Nebraska could as well.

The Miami football program would have trouble competing with the Trojans, Tigers and potentially Cornhuskers for a new head coach. According to USA Today Orgeron is the second-highest-paid coach in college football behind Nick Saban of Alabama. Orgeron is making $8,687,500 this season. Mullen is sixth at $7.57 million.

Clay Helton who was fired last month by USC was 23rd nationally receiving $4,813,832 per season. Scott Frost of Nebraska is tied for 17th at $5 million per season. Miami doesn’t release coaches’ salaries, but Diaz reportedly makes $3.1 million per season. That would rank 55th nationally.

Another obstacle for having a chance for Mullen if he and Diaz are fired is their relationship. Diaz was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Mississippi State under Mullen in 2010 and 2015. Mullen is likely to last at least through 2022 in Gainesville according to Fornelli. Diaz’s job security is unknown.

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The Miami football team at the minimum seems like to have to win six of its last seven regular-season games for Diaz to have a chance at saving his job. That is not going to be good enough for the vast majority of the Miami football fan base. It might be good enough for the Hurricanes Board of Trustees and administration.