Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen has tested positive for COVID-19, just a week after he called for the athletic department to allow for 90,000 fans into “The Swamp” for Week 7 against the LSU Tigers.
The Gators suspended team activities then postponed their matchup against LSU earlier this week after a COVID-19 outbreak on their roster. Now, days after Mullen defended the team’s safety protocols, he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Mullen also stated will be isolating away from his family for the time being. The virus has quickly spread across the team this week, with numerous players and two assistant coaches already testing positive for COVID-19.
While the cause of the outbreak hasn’t been determined, it’s believed that players started showing common symptoms of the coronavirus after their loss in Week 6 to the Texas A&M Aggies. Speaking to reporters after that loss, Mullen called on the athletic department to allow for Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to welcome a max capacity crowd for Saturday’s game.
Mullen cited the crowd as a factor in the team’s road loss to Texas A&M, leading to his insistence that Florida’s athletic department follows Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ ruling for full-capacity crowds. During that game, Texas A&M is believed to have welcomed 30,000 fans to Kyle Field.
On Monday, Mullen defended his request and expressed confidence in the Gators’ safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, via the Associated Press:
“I think if you look at what we’ve been able to do, the safety precautions we have that our players have followed, our coaches follow, our staff follows, you know, I think we’re a model of safety of what we’ve been doing during this time period. “So I’m really proud of how we’ve handled everything and how safe we’ve been with everything we’re doing and all the precautions we’ve had in place during this time.”
Ultimately, Florida’s athletic department never gave Mullen’s request the time of day and for a good reason. Their decision proved to be the right one, with the LSU game being rescheduled until Dec. 12 just days later. The team also had to postpone its Oct. 24 game against Missouri, with that matchup now set to be played on Oct. 31.