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What Dan Mullen wants to learn from Google

Corporate offices could become inspiration to the Florida Gators' proposed $65 million football complex.
Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen wants to stop by Google's headquarters. [ AP FILE PHOTO ]
Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen wants to stop by Google's headquarters. [ AP FILE PHOTO ]
Published Mar. 30, 2018

GAINESVILLE — The Florida Gators will look beyond athletic palaces like Clemson and Kentucky when they start to detail plans for their proposed $65 million, 130,000-square-foot football complex.

"I want to go visit Google," coach Dan Mullen said earlier this week. "I want to see, where do people want to work? What environments are the most efficient working environments? The big question is why — Why do you have it this way? Why do you have it that way? — so that we can learn."

UF wants to learn about two key objectives: Eliminating inefficiencies and maximizing talent development.

The first part is critical to a football facility's functionality. Because NCAA rules limit coaches to only four hours a day with players, they don't want to waste a moment. Mullen will be actively involved in the planning process, from door placement and what room goes where, to make sure it flows smoothly.

"I don't want a line walking out of the team meeting room," Mullen said. "I want to efficiently get in and out fast. How can we do that?"

Maybe corporate offices will offer some insight into that. Even if they don't, touring Google or Fortune 500 companies should help Mullen and administrators learn about the other objective.

Mullen's program is structured around the ability to groom talent. That's why he was able to have some success at Mississippi State, despite its relative disadvantages in recruiting base, reputation and resources in the cutthroat SEC West.

Successful businesses have the same goals, even if they're measured in sales or page views instead of points and NFL draft picks.

"We're about development and performance…" Mullen said. "Well, if one company from anywhere around the world is getting top performance out of people that work there, why is that? What are they doing that separates them? We want to make sure we try to incorporate it, so we can then find every advantage possible."

A rendering of the Florida Gators’ $65 million football-only complex. [ COURTESY: University Athletic Association ]
A rendering of the Florida Gators’ $65 million football-only complex. [ COURTESY: University Athletic Association ]
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