Mississippi State was where I covered my 1st college football game on the sideline.
Dan Mullen was in his 2nd year as Head Coach and was starting to make a name for himself in the SEC (despite Alabama and Auburn rotating SEC west titles).
There was a redshirt true freshman named Dak Prescott fresh on the roster that year. They were pretty excited about him.
I remember when we were doing our 1 on 1 sit down interview, he found out it was my first time in Starkville. Baseball (a BIG deal at State) had a game that weekend and he got up in the middle of the interview and brought back tickets for me. He said he wanted me to have the full Bulldog experience.
I saw him at the game later that night as he was walking through the “Left Field Lounge”, shaking hands and saying hey to all the students. He gave me the enthusiastic Mullen “thumbs up” when he saw me and asked if I was having a good time.
That’s Dan Mullen in a nutshell.
The next day at the game I remember talking to Scott Stricklin (then AD) about social media & how excited he was to unveil the infamous #HailState in the end zone. It was the first time I remember athletics really making a creative splash in the social media world.
Fast forward to a year later and I’m again in Starkville. But this time it’s my first thanksgiving away from my family (in said business, you quickly become numb to those things, even though it never gets easier) and covering the Egg Bowl. Our crew didn’t really have a plan for thanksgiving (although shoutout to Coach Chris Wilson for the invite!) so Dan and Megan Mullen sent us to Cappy’s to spend it with some of their friends.
We got in a circle, held hands and the prayer that was said, was exactly what I needed that day. It was a thanksgiving and moment I’ll never forget.
My favorite Mullen story (in addition to this) is how he and Megan met. He was coaching at Florida and she was in broadcasting. Her email address came up with her lower third and so what any interested guy would do -- he sent her an email. And if my memory serves me correctly, Megan said THE EMAIL WAS IN ALL CAPS AND IT WAS LIKE HE WAS SCREAMING AND DIDNT KNOW ANY BETTER!
Mullen is leaving Starkville in probably the best place it’s ever been in football wise and maybe culture wise. I’m excited to see how it all unfolds for him at Florida (where Stricklin is currently now the AD).
People always ask me what teams I “root” for and it’s not so much the teams as it is the people at the program. Dan and Megan Mullen are those people I root for. Go Gators?