One week after Dan Mullen called for Florida to “pack The Swamp” with 90,000 fans for the LSU game, the Gators coach announced he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Mullen announced his diagnosis via Twitter on Saturday, saying he has already taken a second test to confirm his initial positive result. He is isolating himself from the team — members of which have experienced “mild to no symptoms” — and his family, who remain healthy.
The third-year Florida coach drew criticism Oct. 10 following his team’s 41-38 road loss to Texas A&M, the Gators’ first defeat of the season. Mullen, who claimed the roughly 24,000 fans in attendance at Kyle Field affected his team, said he wanted to see Florida pack Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to capacity to enjoy the same advantage over LSU.
Mullen on Monday declined to address his original comments, saying he was focused on preparing for the LSU game. One day later, the team announced it was pausing all football activities “out of an abundance of caution” after five players tested positive for the coronavirus. Reports from AlligatorSports.com suggested that 19 players had tested positive.
One day later, Florida announced the postponement of the LSU game, citing an increase of positive COVID-19 tests among its players, coaches and staff members. The number of affected players at the time of the announcement was 21: 18 scholarship players and three walk-ons. Also that day, Mullen apologized “if I offended people” regarding his earlier statement about packing The Swamp with fans.
The next question regarding Mullen is when he may return to coaching. The SEC announced Saturday that Florida’s scheduled game against Missouri on Oct. 24 would be pushed back a week to Oct. 31; that makes it more likely Mullen will not be forced to miss any games while isolating.