Gainesville, Florida – Florida coach Dan Mullen, who last week wanted to mobilize 90,000 fans inside the stadium amid a pandemic, said he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Mullen announced Saturday on Twitter, saying his preliminary positive result was confirmed by a second test. The Gators, ranked 10th, had at least 21 players and coaches who tested positive earlier this week, an outbreak that prompted the Southeastern USA Conference to postpone the next two games in Florida.
With scores likely to be quarantined for tracking contracts, Florida could have had fewer than 50 scholarship players available to take on the national human rights hero in the swamp. Two assistant coaches also tested positive for the highly contagious virus.
Mullen is the second SEC head coach, along with Alabama icon Nick Saban, to sign COVID-19 and the fifth known year of the season in major college football, joining Mike Norville from Florida, Kevin Somlin from Arizona, and Lee Miles from Kansas.
Florida has started taking daily testing since it first suspected an outbreak after losing last week to Texas A&M.
Mullen, 48, says he experienced “mild to no symptoms”.
“I am still isolating myself from my family, who are all still healthy, and I follow all the guidelines set by UF Health, the CDC and our public health officials,” Mullen wrote on Twitter. “I am proud of the way our players, staff and the campus community have traversed this unprecedented time and I hope everyone stays safe.”
Team Gators believes their breakout began with two players – one with a congestion and the other with a headache late last week. They both suspected allergies and did not alert the team’s doctors before they traveled on the team’s trip to Texas A&M.
Mullen raised eyebrows after the loss to the Aggies by saying he wanted to pack swamp against LSU. When given the opportunity to back off, it doubled down. He got another chance on Monday and digging into more. Finally Wednesday relented and apologized if he offended anyone.
Florida does not plan to increase its presence at this time.
“It could sneak up on you quickly, as I said,” said Scott Stricklin, Florida’s sporting director, who contracted the coronavirus over the summer, in a video call last week. “The main thing is that you have to be able to push the brakes when things start to happen as we see them now.”