When first-year Gators coach Dan Mullen spoke to a packed crowd at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club this winter , he told stories about the stars Florida fans recognize instantly.Tim Tebow. Steve Spurrier. Percy Harvin.Then he name-dropped someone else — someone who has nothing to do with football but everything to do with how he coaches one of the marquee programs in the country."When I was in second grade, I don't know who won the Super Bowl…" Mullen said. "But I can still picture my second grade teacher, clear as day."His teacher can't tell you who won the Super Bowl that year, either. Sue Devine isn't much of a football fan.But 38 years after Mullen sat in her class at St. Thomas Aquinas School in Derry, N.H., Devine can still picture one of her most successful students."I have fond memories of Daniel," Devine said. Daniel. "It was always Daniel," Devine said.Eventually, 7-year-old Daniel became Dan, one of the top offensive minds in college football. He won two national championships as a Gators assistant, compiled a 69-46 record in nine years as Mississippi State's head coach and took over UF in November with a six-year, $36 million contract.But back in the fall of 1979, he was Daniel, one of Devine's 35 students."He was just a really nice kid," Devine said recently from her classroom at East Derry Memorial Elementary School. "Bright. Polite. Well-mannered."Mullen showed some of the same traits that he'd later use to climb through the coaching ranks and take over his second SEC program by age 46.He worked hard. He was a good listener and spoke well. He fit in with a fun class."He just got along well with everybody," Devine said.She did, too.Devine — then Ms. Varney — was 24 years old and just starting her career. Mullen thought she was cool, quite a change from the nun who taught him in first grade. She even brought a bunny costume to school for Easter."I think I probably had a little crush on her," Mullen said.The details have faded for both of them after 38 years. Devine can't recall many stories of Daniel, and Mullen can't remember her arithmetic or spelling lessons. But if Mullen still views second grade as one of the happiest times in his childhood, he figures Devine must have done something right.That's why he mentioned her to several hundred fans and boosters in Tampa . That's why he name-dropped her at SEC media days in 2015 . And that's why he took time out from a busy week of travel to reminiscence about a woman he hasn't seen in years."When you think back to the people that influence your life," Mullen said, "you can remember your second grade teacher."Mullen and his family kept in touch with her after he moved on to third grade. They were at the church for her wedding in 1982, when Ms. Varney became Mrs. Devine.As Mullen's career started taking off, Devine followed from afar. She reads about him in the newspaper and Googles him to see how he's doing and what he looks like.The two haven't spoken recently, but they occasionally pop up in each other's lives. Devine and her husband were on vacation not long ago and struck up a conversation with a businessman from Mississippi. When Devine mentioned her former pupil, the man was impressed; he thought highly of Mullen."I was so proud of Daniel," Devine said.Mullen recently got an update about Devine from his mom: This class of 19 second graders will be Devine's last. After teaching hundreds of grade schoolers over a 41-year career, the 62-year-old is ready to do something else.It also makes him think. He's on the phone during teacher appreciation week, and he doesn't know if he's ever called to thank her for the impact she had on him.But Mullen thanks her in his own way every day. He's a teacher, just like her.Mullen's players will eventually forget the chalk talk about run-pass options and cover-two defenses, just as he forgot the arithmetic and spelling lessons he learned from Ms. Varney 38 years ago.When those details fade away, Mullen hopes he has left his players with something else, something bigger and more important than what to run on second and 7."It's something I've tried to model myself after with the guys that I coach," Mullen said. "I want to have a very, very positive impact on them, because here it is 40 years later, and I can still tell you about second grade and the teacher in second grade."