FSU hires Mike Norvell

Florida State has completed a month-long coaching search by hiring Memphis coach Mike Norvell on Saturday night.

ESPN first reported the hire, and the Osceola has confirmed that Norvell will be the Seminoles’ next coach.

FSU has set a press conference for Sunday at noon but did not state who the head coach will be.

Norvell went 38-15 in four seasons at Memphis, including three in the American Athletic Conference title game. Featuring a top-10 offense, Memphis went 12-1 and defeated Cincinnati in Saturday’s league title game.

In his postgame press conference on Saturday night, Norvell told reporters that he plans to coach Memphis State in the bowl game – possibly the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 28. That is a logistical challenge as Norvell will have to recruit for FSU – with an early signing day ahead beginning Dec. 18 – and hire a staff while also leading a Memphis team that is 540 miles away.

The 38-year-old Norvell replaces Willie Taggart, who was dismissed after he went 9-12 in 2018 as well as three-quarters of the 2019 season.

FSU turns to Norvell to fix up a program that is six years removed from a national championship but is in need of repairs after falling apart late in the Jimbo Fisher years and then suffering through a 9-12 record with Taggart. The Seminoles are 2-1 under interim head coach Odell Haggins, who will lead the team in the bowl game.

Norvell must hit the ground running immediately, shoring up FSU’s current commitments while looking to secure others ahead of the early signing period (which begins Dec. 18). FSU has a top 25 class according to 247Sports, a group that features four-star quarterback Jeff Sims, four-star receiver Malachi Wideman and four-star running back Lawrance Toafili.

Terms of Norvell’s deal with Florida State have not yet been released. Norvell earned $2.6 million in 2019 at Memphis and has a $500,000 buyout.

While Norvell lacks head coaching experience at the Power 5 level, he has been the offensive coordinator at Arizona State and the co-offensive coordinator/receivers coach at Pittsburgh.

FSU officials reportedly talked to Penn State’s James Franklin, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell and Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck, and each of those coaches reached an agreement to a contract extension in recent weeks. Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was an early consideration but he has opted instead to coach the XFL’s Dallas franchise in the spring of 2020.

More on Mike Norvell

Rock & Roll: Norvell’s resume strengthened in Memphis

Column: FSU’s search turns to Norvell

Below is Norvell’s press conference after the win over Cincinnati on Saturday


  1. Dan Densmore Reply

    Go Noles!!

  2. Bob Ferrante Reply

    I was skeptical about Norvell. Some research and stories written by Pat and Jerry have opened my eyes. Let’s give him time. He has to hire a staff with Florida ties so that FSU can get moving on the recruiting trail.

  3. Christopher Holder Reply

    The Bowl bowl thing will be a problem. So is the word of Odell retiring true and who if any of the coaches for FSU be retained?

    • Bob Ferrante Reply

      I’d rather hear what Norvell says on this but my opinion is that Haggins has been at FSU since 1994. He comes with the house.

      Haggins doesn’t walk well, you can tell the knees ache. But he is also very close to having 30 years at FSU and in the FRS retirement system. I would like to see him stay at FSU as long as he wants and also get the pension he deserves.

  4. Dan Densmore Reply

    I agree with Bob…Haggins needs to stay..,need to have some connection with FSU’s better years…plus he will help to salvage this next class

  5. Jerry Gray Reply

    Great hire ! I believe he will offer Odell a job, he was my second choice behind Mark Richt. Coach Norvell will need time to fixed FSU let’s give it to him. I also believe this hire will help tickets sales, GO NOLES !!! How about those Madison county Cowboys! 70 to 35 over Blountstown 3 peat state champs !!!

  6. David Shafer Reply

    If what we saw at his press conference is what the hiring committee saw it is no wonder he was hired. Very impressive press conference. A football coach needs to be a leader on not only his athletes, but a leader in the community. He seems to have that ability.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.