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Mullen grew professionally during his time at Bowling Green


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE - Dan Mullen hates to think what his life would be like without his two years at Bowling Green State University.  


Professional the quarterbacks coaching job with the Falcons program was his first full-time position in college football. Personally, he met his wife Megan.  


When asked what he would tell the Dan Mullen 12 years ago that was wide-eyed and excited about beginning his career as a college football coach under head coach Urban Meyer at Bowling Green, he didn't want to change anything.  


"I like my right now, so I don't know if I want to mess with it too much," Mullen said with a smile. "I've got a great wife, I have two great kids, I have a job that I love, I'm around great people and coach great kids here. So I'd be scared to, you know if you look at the movies, if they go back in time and I alter something the shock waves into the future could change everything right there." 


Mullen even referenced his nervousness of messing with the space-time continuum and the move 'Back To The Future' in any hypothetical time machine invention that could interact with the then 29-year-old Dan Mullen.  


"So I wouldn't want to mess with that too much because I really like my life right now," Mullen said. "I met my wife (at Bowling Green), it changed a lot about who you are. I grew up a lot while I was there, and I think personally and football wise. So it was a good time, a good experience for me." 


Mullen served as quarterbacks' coach at Bowling Green for two seasons, putting up 6,627 yards of total offense and scoring 81 touchdowns during that span. In 2002, quarterback Josh Harris threw for 2,425 yards, ran for 737 yards and completed the campaign as the nation's third-leading scorer. 


Mullen admitted Monday being in Starkville was not part of his mythical 10-year-plan when he arrived at Bowling Green after being a graduate assistant at Syracuse and Notre Dame.  


"People say or ask you 'where will I be ten years from now?'...I will be honest with you being head coach at Mississippi State was not the first thing that jumped out," Mullen said. "I'd love to have been a head coach. We did some good things, we had some really good players and had a lot of success. It helped a lot of different people get to where they are today." 


On that 2001 staff at Bowling Green consisted of three current head coaches (Mullen, Urban Meyer and Tim Beckman), two coordinators (DJ Durkin and Gregg Brandon) and six other assistant coaches at Bowl Championship Series programs.  


"There's no question they were the most formative years of my career," Meyer told the Toledo Blade. "Everything I've done and everything I do with my family or my job is something I learned in those two years at Bowling Green." 


While Mullen clearly has no personal relationship with the current Bowling Green staff or players, he still talks weekly with former Falcons quarterback Josh Harris. Mullen also understands the mental makeup of the Falcons program that has a inferiority complex with the bigger schools in the midwest region of the country. Bowling Green recruits the state of Ohio against five in-state schools in the state of Ohio with the looming presence of Ohio State covering all the attention.  


"I've got a proud Ohio University alum in my house," Mullen said of his wife Megan. "So I think at Bowling Green you're competing against those schools, not against the big school in the state. It's a great school, kids have a great time going there, now they've built some really nice, new facilities since I was there, so they have a lot to sell as a university." 


Mullen, who is 18-4 in non-conference games at MSU, knows very well the mental makeup of the players of the players that will be making their first trip to Davis Wade Stadium. It's the underdog attitude that led to upsets over Missouri and Northwestern while Mullen was with the Falcons program.  


"We still use that here, we have a chip on our shoulder here, you know, for a lot of our guys and within our conference," Mullen said. "I'm sure they use all that stuff. The chip on the shoulder is the opportunity to play a SEC school. We get to do it eight times a year, they get to do it once so it's a pretty big opportunity for those guys." 


Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.



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