The South Region recruiting rankings have seen movement this week with commitments going public. It…
Megan Mullen's Journey
Megan was an athlete in school and a natural fit as a coach's wife. She followed her passion for sports to the college level looking for a degree to showcase one of her dreams.
"I was the captain of my golf team," she said. "My dad owned a golf course, so I grew up on the course. I played for four years in high school. I went to school at Ohio University and majored in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Sports and Political Science."
Megan needed an internship through her junior and senior years of college, and her step-father encouraged her to apply for anything available. Megan took his advice, and she applied for four internships. To her surprise she got all four.
"My parents said to go where the people are best to you," she said.
Megan made that decision and went to CNN. She also relayed how it is the same in Starkville, Miss.
Megan left for Atlanta, Ga. to work for CNN Sports Illustrated. It became a summer that completely changed her life. She wanted to stay on after CNN offered her a job, but she had to return to Ohio University to finish her degree. She returned and finished two quarters later, graduating in the winter.
Megan's parents rented her a car after graduation, and she drove around for a week dropping off demo-tapes all across the South, the East, and the Mid-Atlantic States in search of a job.
While a news director in Maryland was going through tapes of possible employees, she happened to notice Megan's address. She had grown up on the same street as Megan, just a few doors down in Pittsburgh. The news director gave her a call.
"She offered me a job making $14,600 a year," Megan said. "It was a two year contract. I remember trying to negotiate for $16,000, but she refused my offer. She said, "There are a million people behind you. What do you want to do?"
Megan took the job and started setting up cameras and taping herself for two years.
Megan's next stop was Toledo, Ohio. She got the job as the weekend sports anchor and weekday sports reporter. One day Megan received an e-mail from the quarterback coach at Bowling Green State University named Dan Mullen.
Coach Mullen asked if she would have lunch with him. Megan never responded. A second e-mail came along.
"Listen, I am not a stalker," Mullen wrote. "I'm just a quarterback coach with Bowling Green State University. You cover our team, and I have seen you at practice. I would like to take you out to lunch. Again, I'm not a stalker. I just want to take you to lunch. At least have the common courtesy to reply to this e-mail. It would be RUDE not to."
Megan shared how 'RUDE' was spelled in capital letters.
She kept thinking to herself, "Who is this guy?"
Megan still ignored him until one day when she walked into a staff meeting. The news director would screen all working staff's e-mails. He came out one day reading the e-mail out loud in front of everyone.
He was saying, "He is not a stalker. This is his second e-mail. Can you just go have lunch with the guy?"
Megan responded, "Nope, can't do it. I am already seeing someone else."
Then he said, "Nope, you have to do it because it will be bad business not to."
Megan continued to say, "No. I can't."
The news director continued to say, "Just do it. Just go have lunch with this guy. It will be a nice thing to do."
"I called Dan Mullen and realized we had enough in common that we could get through a lunch," Megan said. "So I said, 'you know what, if you want to do lunch sometime this week or next week I will be happy to.'"
Dan Mullen said, "No. That's OK. We will just have dinner tonight instead."
She thought, "Who is this guy? I've given him a lunch, and he's taking a dinner. Like what in the world, the arrogance of this guy.
"So I went to dinner that night, but didn't brush my hair, and I didn't care. I just wanted it to kind of be over with, but I got there first and when I heard the person walk in behind me I turned around and that was the first time in my life that anybody had taken my breath away.
"I just knew it. It was him. That was the start of Dan.
"Dan has always said that he is a good recruiter, and that he recruited me. And you know what, he totally did. And it went on for a while because I didn't get this whole coaching thing, and how they are never around. You do dinner one night a week, and it's like for 45 minutes. That's it. It was a crazy ordeal."
Later Dan said to Megan, "Surely you knew what I looked like. You saw me in the media guide."
Megan innocently responded, "You are in the media guide?"
Dan asked Megan if she had a media guide on her desk. When she told him she did he said, "Just open it up."
At the time, Megan claims she thought the only coaches were Urban Meyer, a defensive coordinator and an offensive coordinator.
"I didn't realize there was a quarterback coach," she said. "If I would have opened up the media guide and seen him I probably would have wanted to call him. Just kind of a funny way that we met."
Dan finished up that season, and the day after he called and asked Megan what time she finished with work which was usually 11:30 pm. He said they needed to talk.
Megan asked him, "What job did you guys just take?"
Dan said he did not know what she was talking about, but she just needed to stop by. Megan showed up at his house, and all the boxes from his office were already in his apartment. Dan told her that he was going to Utah the next day.
"It happened that quick," she said. "I drove him to the airport and never thought I would see him again. I really didn't. I thought we would talk and keep in touch, but I never thought I would see him again."
Dan ended up flying Megan to Utah for New Year's, and after the visit a listing came open for the main sports anchor at a Fox affiliate in Salt Lake City. Megan put together a demo-tape, and six months later she moved to Utah with a new job.
"I moved out to Utah," she said. "Dan went in December, and I went in August. And that was that. We lived out there for two years and got engaged the last week of the season.
"Later Dan got a job in Florida and moved. I packed up his house and my apartment because we were engaged, and we were getting married. I joined him in Florida in February, and we got married on July 4th that summer in 2005.
"We thought the TV job was over because I was moving to Gainesville, but my agent called and I was offered a full time job as the main co-anchor for the Nightly News Show Golf Central. I took it, and for three years I commuted 240 miles a day, 120 miles each way. The job was the best ever because it was my dream job. It was perfect, but then after a while it became too much, too long of a drive."
Megan talked about the cautions she would give other coaches' wives.
"People say it is such a tough job. And believe me, in my life, I will never see anyone work harder than my husband," she said. "I get emotional thinking about it. But, you just love the person so much that all you want them to do is be successful and succeed especially when they just put every ounce of every single thing they have in each game, each week, each season and in each player, and each recruit.
"All you can do is love and support them because their job is so tough. That's it. That's all you do. You just love and support them, and you take on the team too. I'm as much in love with the team as Dan is in love with the team. I mean, I love the players. I want them to succeed.
"But if you're ever going to complain about the hours or anything like that, then no, obviously you are not cut out for it. You must believe in your husband and love him more than the world, and have relationships with these players.
"There is no one who wants to see them succeed more than I do because I love them. I feel like I am invested in them as much as Dan is, just in a different way. If anybody would ever give your husband grief, forget it, you're a goner. It's not gonna work. You just have to believe in them and love them as much as you possibly can, the coach and the team.
"You take care of everything, the house, the bills, the dog, everything. Let them focus on the football part because that is all they can handle and hope to get flowers maybe sent to you occasionally. You just have to know you are going to take care of everything.
"Dan calls me the Co-Head Coach because I am like the head coach of the household. You can't make their lives anymore stressful than it already is."
Megan has down time she enjoys with the family.
"The pool. When Dan has time, we sit out in the back with the babe, the dog, and enjoy the pool," she said.
Megan shared her most memorable thoughts of her husband's coaching career and will never forget.
"The National Title Game," she said. "But more than anything seeing him run out on the field as head coach for the first time ever. That is the most memorable."
Megan is someone who encourages her husband throughout the football season and finds time to spend with the head coach.
"Dan loves his family, football, and the Boston Red Sox," she said. "I take him lunch once a week to the football office. I'll go to team chapel with him on Sunday, just so he can see his family. We go to practice Thursday night, and do team dinner.
"I also go to his radio show on Thursday night, just anything to be around him. Anything I am allowed to do and go to, I do because it makes it easier and happier for him to maybe get to be around us as he does the football stuff."
Megan shares that her husband is the same at home after a win or a loss. She wants to distract his attention away from the football field.
"He is as kind and loving after a loss as he is with the wins," she said. "You get him home and get him relaxed on the couch, and relax him as much as you can. You get him to just watch TV and divert him away from it for awhile. Just make everything as normal as possible. You just love them to death because the job is so monstrous."
Megan's definition of 'Team.'
"Team is looking to the left, looking to the right, looking in front of you, looking behind you to every single player, coach, and wife that is on this team and a part of this program and going to bat for every single one of them," she said. "Giving 100-percent of yourself. As long as everyone is giving 100-percent, all for the same goal, all for the same good, you are a team."
Megan's definition of a 'Champion':
"Champion goes beyond the football field," she said. "It is doing everything right in your life. All the time."
Megan is involved with the football program and keeps a close watch over the players who have become a part of their family.
"If there is a homesick kid he is over here [at their home]," she explained. "Or if someone is upset with their girlfriend, or just got dumped, they are over here. Or I am going to football practice to get them and say, 'OK, listen. It's OK. This is not the end of the world. We are going to survive this.' You are doing that or you are baking cookies for them.
"You are hugging them every time they come off the field from practice if you are there. You have one strolling the baby, one walking the dog, and I will be walking with one of the players so I can talk to them. I can see what they are up to and what they are doing.
"They deserve to be loved. They have been so kind and allowed us to be in their lives. They all want to win, and they work so hard. This team is made up of great people. These kids give 100-percent all the time."
Coaches' wives get nervous about games, including Megan Mullen.
"You do get nervous before games," she said. "It depends on who we are playing. It's crazy. It depends who the opponent is. If I am just so tense and dizzy I have to take a dramamine."
Megan has a very close relationship with her mother.
"She taught me everything in the world," Megan said. "Other than Dan, she is my best friend. I talk to her at least once a day. She probably taught me best how to be a wonderful wife and mom, for sure."
The relationship with her step-dad has been special as well. He taught her, "how to write and, "show me don't snow me," she said.
Megan has a great outlook on life and knows how she wants to be remembered.
"Just making an impact in the lives of others," she said. "Because everybody you come in contact with in your life you can change in a positive way or a negative way. If you treat other people the way you want to be treated or like they deserve to be treated it makes all the difference in the world."
In closing, Megan had the following to say, "In 2006 I spent five days at Old Waverly in West Point. While I was there I had the best time. I told myself, 'I gotta go see Mississippi State.' I want to see an SEC school. Tell me where to go in Starkville to get a good steak. So they sent me to Harvey's. And now a few years later here I am. The school is beautiful. I love it here."
Megan Mullen is a special lady indeed. Coach Dan Mullen and his wife are truly enjoying Starkville, Miss. They love everything which encompasses the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Shea Lowery is the Director of Quinn's Ranch Children's Home and a freelance writer for ScoutSouth.com.
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