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OFFICIAL: Florida State hires Mike Norvell as new head football coach

Hold that tiger.

Mike Norvell
Mike Norvell Introduction Press Conference
Tomahawk Nation

It’s now official, FSU has hired Memphis head coach Mike Norvell to replace the recently fired Willie Taggart as head honcho in Tallahassee.


Mike Norvell is Florida State’s 11th full-time head football coach, it was announced Sunday in a statement released by Florida State.

“I’m humbled and honored for the opportunity to be the head coach at Florida State University, one of the iconic brands in college football,” Norvell said. “I’m so very excited for the future and the opportunity to return Florida State football to one of the nation’s elite. I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running, putting together a great signing class, a tremendous coaching staff and joining arms with our current and former players to help elevate our football program each and every day.”

Norvell has spent the last four seasons as the head coach at Memphis, compiling a record of 38-15, including the 2019 American Athletic Conference championship. His .717 winning percentage is the highest in Memphis history and ranks 10th among active coaches with at least four years of experience at the FBS level. Memphis was the first school to appear in three straight American Athletic Conference Championship Games, and Norvell is one of 12 head coaches in any conference to appear in three straight conference championship games. He is also one of only seven to make three conference championship game appearances in their first four years as a head coach.

“I am so pleased that Coach Norvell will be leading our football program,” Florida State President John Thrasher said. “Everyone we spoke with regarding Coach Norvell agreed that he is one of the top coaches in the country. That fact is clear just based on the opportunities he already has on the table. It became clear to us during the interviews that Coach Norvell is the right person to lead our program back to a championship.”

“We are excited that our football program has attracted one of the finest coaches in the country,” Director of Athletics David Coburn said. “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.”

Norvell has developed an impressive coaching tree in his four seasons as head coach. In 2019, the offensive coordinators at Notre Dame, Auburn and Texas A&M, as well as the defensive coordinator at Georgia, special teams coordinator at Penn State and position coaches at Tennessee, Auburn and Texas Tech, were all hired from Norvell’s Memphis staff.

After over a month with Odell Haggins installed as its interim head coach, Tomahawk Nation sources confirmed Florida State is expecting to hire its next HC in Memphis head man Mike Norvell:

Norvell was chosen from a variety of candidates interviewed that included names as diverse as James Franklin, Bob Stoops, Matt Campbell, Brian Kelly, and Haggins himself.

According to Tomahawk Nation’s sources, Norvell’s contract will run for six years and is favorable for FSU.

The coaching change comes less than two years after the Seminoles hired Willie Taggart and subsequently fired him one day after suffering an embarrassing loss to a middling Miami team. Under Taggart, Florida State went 9-12 (6-9 in the ACC) and failed to become bowl eligible for the first time in 36 years in 2018.

The Seminoles, once again, find themselves in a spot similar to 2017, as Haggins is currently in the middle of preparing Florida State for its upcoming bowl game.

With the Early Signing Period rapidly approaching (December 18), Norvell’s first task will be salvaging the 2020 recruiting class, while also rounding out his coaching staff.

Stay tuned to Tomahawk Nation for further analysis of the Seminoles’ hire.