Dan Mullen could only afford one bottle of Gatorade a week during his first coaching job.
He would add a splash of the energy drink to his cloudy New York tap water to disguise the taste. He slept on the floor and walked to his job at Wagner College in New York. In four years, he made $16,000. Total.
As the new Florida Gators head coach, Mullen will make about $6 million per year, according to the Florida Times-Union.
“Now, I’m fortunate,” he told the crowd of about 200. “I can afford Gatorade.”
Mullen, who was hired as the new head football coach in November, spoke Tuesday night in the University Auditorium for Accent Speakers Bureau’s third event with the University Athletic Association. Mullen was not paid to speak, said Shelby Buchanan, the Accent chairwoman.
“We want to give students a more personal connection to the people who are coaching our teams,” she said.
In head-to-toe orange and blue and wearing his visor from practice, Mullen answered questions about recruiting, his expectations for Fall and former Gators football player Tim Tebow, who he coached as the Gators’ offensive coordinator.
He also discussed the importance of being well-rounded and trying different things. He demonstrated positions one through five in ballet to show his dance knowledge.
“I coach football to make a positive impact on young people’s lives,” Mullen said. “That is the ultimate reward you can have.”
Emma Broadbent, a UF environmental science sophomore, said she’s excited about what Mullen can bring to the team. Broadbent, who said she’s been a Gators fan since birth, wants to see the team become National Champions again.
“The Tennessee moment made me realize we have the skill with the players, but the coaches aren’t utilizing it,” the 19-year-old said.
Nathan Larubbio, an 18-year-old UF sports management freshman, said he’s been a Gators fan his whole life. He’s yelled and cried watching games.
He remembers better years, when Tebow was quarterback and Mullen was helping to coach. He hopes Mullen can bring back those days.
“The last few years have been torture for me,” he said. “I’m excited for them to go away.”
UF football head coach Dan Mullen answers questions and talks about his coaching career, the football program, and more with moderator Ted Spiker at the Accent Speakers Bureau event Tuesday night. About 200 people attended the free event at the University Auditorium.