Memphis’ Mike Norvell to Coach Florida’s Seminoles

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Memphis Coach Mike Norvell has been hired as head coach of Florida State University’s college football team. The announcement was made on Sunday, December 8 in the morning. On Saturday, December 7, the Seminoles announced an introductory press conference for noon on Sunday, December 8. Norvell’s No.17 Memphis beat No. 20 Cincinnati 29-24 in the AAC Championship Game on Saturday.

“We had a list of criteria that our new head coach needed to meet that went well beyond his record, and Mike Norvell exceeded all of them. At the top of that list was attracting a coach who could lead the program back to competing for championships. We believe we have the coach to do that,” athletics director David Coburn said.

Mike Norvell, 38, has been in demand lately due to his amazing track record. He has won three straight AAC West division championships. Norvell’s Memphis team has been lead to a solid 12-1 mark. This will earn the team a “Group of Five” spot in a New Year’s Day Six bowl. 

Coach Norvell has talked favorably about FSU and the Noles in the past. Novell at the press conference stated that FSU is a place of reverence. He said this was a “special opportunity” and called the FSU brand “iconic,”  along with saying it was one of the “greatest football programs in the United States of America.”

Florida State’s former coach Willie Taggart was fired after a 9-12 record in less than two seasons for the ‘Noles. Haggart was dismissed on Nov. 2 following FSU’s loss to rival Miami, FL 27-10 in Tallahassee, Florida. The season dropped to 4-5.

The process of Mike Norvell’s hire was disappointing, according to some critics. The reason being was due to Willie Haggart’s termination. Other critics say it would be an embarrassing search for a new head coach itself. Such was that of Mike Norvell, in their opinion after Haggart was fired after only being 21 games into the season.

The disappointment has nothing to do with Novell himself at all, critics say. It has to do with the way FSU leadership (by school president John Thrasher, athletics director David Coburn and boosters leader Andy Miller) handled the situation. Instead of getting a new head coach within days, it took a month to select someone as the new head coach for the ‘Noles. Noles fans felt this promise to them was not fulfilled in the appropriate time frame.

Norvell won’t be coaching actively until 2020.

For now, he is faced with a restricted calendar for both recruiting and game preparation. It was reported he intends to coach Memphis in its bowl game, but due to these aforementioned restrictions, he will not be able to coach Memphis in the Cotton Bowl against Penn State. Norvell confirmed this in a letter to the Memphis community on December 10.

Florida State defensive line coach Odell Haggins will be filling in for Novell at the Sun Bowl game against Arizona State. Haggins was serving as interim head coach prior to Novell’s hiring. Novell will still be involved in FSU’s preparation for the game.

Florida State’s bowl destination will be announced on Sunday, December 15.