Mike Norvell agrees to deal to become Florida State’s coach
Mike Norvell, who in four seasons has taken Memphis’ football program to unprecedented heights, has agreed to a deal to become Florida State’s next head coach, sources told ESPN’s Chris Low.
Without confirming a name, FSU said in a statement Saturday that the school will introduce its next coach at a news conference at noon ET on Sunday.
Norvell guided Memphis (12-1) to its first AAC title in its third straight conference championship game. Eight days after beating Cincinnati 34-24 at home in the regular-season finale, Memphis rallied for another win, 29-24, on Saturday.
The Tigers now wait for an invitation to the Cotton Bowl as the highest-ranked Group of 5 team.
Norvell declined to answer any questions about his future after the win. Asked whether he expected to coach Memphis in its bowl game, he said, “Obviously, that’s the plan.”
Even when asked later about Florida State’s news conference Sunday, Norvell deflected.
“All our focus tonight is about this football team,” said Norvell, who appeared emotional while his Tigers talked earlier beside him. “It’s not about me. It’s not about anything. It’s about this team and winning an American conference championship. I’m grateful for these guys and what they put in today, and we’re excited obviously about what we were able to do tonight.”
The transformation of Memphis’ program under Norvell has been stunning. The Tigers have won eight or more games for six straight seasons, and Norvell has been at the helm for the past four. From 1974 to 2013, the Tigers had just two seasons of eight or more wins.
One of the youngest head coaches in the country when he took over at Memphis, Norvell, 38, would replace Willie Taggart at Florida State. Taggart was fired nine games into his second season at FSU earlier this year. He was 9-12 in 21 games as FSU’s coach.
If he does take the Florida State job, Norvell will be the second-youngest coach of a Power 5 school, after 36-year-old Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma.
Despite his age, Norvell is one of the most respected offensive minds in college football. Memphis has set multiple school records on offense and scored 30 or more points in 43 of the 53 games of his tenure. Only Oklahoma and Ohio State have averaged more points per game in the four seasons that Norvell has coached the Tigers.
He was the offensive coordinator at Arizona State under Todd Graham before getting the Memphis job and before that worked under Graham at Pittsburgh as the co-offensive coordinator and at Tulsa as the passing game coordinator.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.