Florida coach Dan Mullen embraces dark side after beating Missouri
University of Florida football coach Dan Mullen won over the internet after defeating Missouri on Saturday night.
Mullen, whose team shellacked the visiting Tigers by a score of 41-17, embraced the holiday of Halloween with a Star Wars-themed costume.
The former Mississippi State coach stepped out for a Zoom press conference wearing a full Darth Vader costume. The ensemble even included a Florida Gators insignia.
Mullen’s team has been a mystery wrapped in a football-shaped enigma this season, defeating Ole Miss, South Carolina and Missouri by double digits, while also losing to Texas A&M by three points on Oct. 10.
Saturday’s game made headlines for a full-on brawl that broke out between the two conference foes at halftime.
Whether Mullen’s costume was meant to change the subject remains unknown, though it does embody the spirit of the holiday.
Mullen’s hijinks seemed to have impressed players like defensive back Brad Stewart, according to Gator Country’s Nick de la Torre.
“It’s a fun experience because he come in here, and he got a different costume on, like he was Darth Vader one time, he and Cannon was with him,” Stewart said. “Coach Mullen.. he a funny person.”
Mullen explained later in the press conference that his Halloween costume idea dated back to his days in Starkville, when he tried to make his players’ more comfortable, given their lack of time around loved ones during the holiday season.
“You’re never around on holidays. It’s something we did a long time ago at Mississippi State was make sure coaches, especially those with young kids, would either come in super late at night or super early in the morning and you’d be able to take your kids trick or treating,” Mullen said, via Gator Country.
“As your kids grew up, they could say, ‘Hey, was my family’s football coach never around.’ You do look at it. My daughter is nine. I think she spent three out of the last four Christmas’s in a hotel. At nine years old. Six, seven eight and nine, we’re in a hotel room, I’m guessing. I know it’s been a couple. That’s hard. It’s something we always did. This costume here, as you said, it’s suitable tonight. I didn’t pick this out after the game.”
Mullen himself seemed pretty excited to sport the get-up, letting out a three-word exultation when asked about his costume choice.
“Still Halloween baby!”
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