It didn’t take long for Dan Mullen to get into the Halloween spirit. Less than 30 minutes after the Florida Gators beat the Missouri Tigers 41-17, Mullen showed up to his post game press conference like this.
Dan Mullen is here. I'm serious pic.twitter.com/KRtBRRjiW8
— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) November 1, 2020
Mullen also surprised his team in the locker room, and it looks like they enjoyed it.
“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,” starting defensive back Brad Stewart said. “Coach Mullen.. he a funny person.
Right before halftime Mullen had to be restrained as his team and Missouri came to blows at midfield. Three players were ejected and Mullen was angry to the point that several staffers had to physically restrain him as he tried to argue his point with the head official. The costume was planned prior to the game, but because of events that happened during the contest, Mullen was asked if maybe he was leaning into a heel role.
“I was trying to get our players off the field, you know, because I know we have a big game next week,” Mullen responded to the question asking him if he felt like the villain because of the scrum at halftime.
It’s not every year that Halloween will fall on, first a Saturday, and also a Saturday that isn’t a bye week. This was, originally, slated to be Florida’s bye week. Mullen went on further to explain why he was in costume, why it was in his locker before the game, and what holidays mean to him.
“To be honest, one thing I will say this, it’s something we started a long time ago. Mississippi State. I read a book once and it was George Allen, I’m not sure, about never being around his family. It was written through the eyes of the family and the active family,” Mullen explained. “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. 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 even added that if he got out of his press conference quickly enough he’d have a chance to go and see his kids before bed, maybe pick through their candy baskets.
After giving his reasoning why the costume was on, Darth Gator signed off with his best impression and, “May the force be with you. Happy Halloween and Go Gators.”