Head Coach Mike Mularkey was named head coach of the Jaguars on January 11, 2012. Mularkey has 18 years of NFL coaching experience including two seasons as a head coach and eight as an offensive coordinator. In five of the eight seasons he was a coordinator Mularkey’s team went to the playoffs. Prior to Jacksonville, his previous coaching stops were at Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Miami and Atlanta. Mularkey is the fourth head coach in Jaguars history, including Mel Tucker who served as interim head coach for the final five games of the 2011 season.
A veteran of 27 years in the NFL, Mularkey played nine seasons as a tight end for the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ft. Lauderdale, Florida native attended the University of Florida, where he played tight end before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1983.
Mularkey, 50, spent the past four seasons (2008-11) as offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, a team that advanced to the postseason in three of those four seasons. The Falcons produced a 43-21 mark in Mularkey’s tenure, the fifth-best record in the NFL. Over the four seasons the Falcons offense ranked ninth in total yards (354.8 per game) in the NFL, seventh in points (24.5), eighth in rushing yards (125.7), third in fewest turnovers (84), fourth in fewest sacks allowed (93) and sixth in third down conversions (44.2). The Falcons produced the top two single-season totals in team history for yards per game during Mularkey’s tenure (2008, 2011).
In three of the four seasons under Mularkey, the Falcons offense produced a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same year. Under Mularkey’s tutelage since 2008, quarterback Matt Ryan ranked seventh in passing yards (14,238) and sixth in touchdown passes (95), and had the league’s fifth-lowest interception percentage (2.3). Ryan has thrown for 29 and 28 touchdown passes the last two seasons, two of the four highest marks in team history. Only Joe Flacco (44) produced more wins than Ryan (43) in his first four seasons as a starter in NFL history.
During Mularkey’s tenure wide receiver Roddy White posted an NFL-best 5,220 receiving yards and ranked second with 388 receptions. White led the NFL in 2010 with a franchise-record 110 receptions. Running back Michael Turner rushed for the third-most yards per game (89.5 avg.) and the second-most touchdowns (50) during that span. Turner is one of only two running backs in the NFL to rush for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns since 2008. After joining the Falcons in 2009, veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez caught 19 touchdown passes and recorded 233 receptions in three seasons.
The Falcons made their second consecutive postseason appearance in 2011, marking the first time in team history the Falcons qualified for the postseason in back-to-back seasons. The 2011 season was a record-breaking campaign for the Falcons offense under Mularkey.
The 2011 Falcons set a single-season franchise record for yards per game (376.6), the 10th-highest in the NFL, and passing yards per game (262.0). For only the second time in team history, the Falcons had a 4,000-yard passer (Ryan, 4,177), a 1,000-yard rusher (Turner, 1,340) and 1,000-yard receiver (White, 1,296). In addition, White, Gonzalez and Julio Jones were one of only four trios to each have 800 or more receiving yards. The Falcons ranked sixth in the NFL with a 44.2 conversion percentage on third downs, eighth with an 88.1 scoring percentage in the red zone, third in time of possession (32:05), sixth in fewest sacks (26) and second in 10-play drives (33).
Ryan set single-season franchise marks in 2011 for passing yards (4,177) and 300-yard passing games (six) and ranked eighth in the NFL with a 92.2 passer rating. He threw for at least one touchdown in 15 straight games and concluded the regular season with 166 passes without being intercepted and 77 consecutive pass plays without being sacked. Gonzalez ranked fourth in the NFL among tight ends with 80 receptions and was named to his 12th Pro Bowl. Rookie wide receiver Julio Jones led all first-year players with eight touchdowns and ranked second with 54 receptions for 959 yards, the most touchdowns and yards by a rookie in team history.
In 2010, Mularkey was named “Coordinator of the Year” by The Sporting News. That season the Falcons set a franchise record for first downs (353) and scored the third-most points (414, 25.8 avg.) in team history. The Falcons ranked third in the NFL in time of possession (32:15), third down conversions (46.7) and scoring efficiency (scoring on 70 of 178 possessions) while setting the franchise record for fewest turnovers in a season with 17. Six offensive players were named to the Pro Bowl including Ryan for the first time. Ryan established a team record with 357 completions and threw for 3,705 yards with 28 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. While White led the NFL in receptions with 115, Turner led the NFC with 1,389 rushing yards.
Injuries hampered both Ryan and Turner in 2009 but the offense still averaged 340.4 yards per game while the Falcons posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in team history. White led the team with 1,153 receiving yards and a career-best 11 touchdowns. Gonzalez, in his first season with the Falcons, set a team record for tight ends with 88 receptions for 867 yards and six touchdowns.
In Mularkey’s first season with the Falcons, the club ranked second in the NFL with an average of 152.7 rushing yards per game and was sixth in total offense with a then-franchise-record average of 361.2 yards per game. The Falcons broke a 27-year old record by totaling 5,799 net yards and established a new club mark by surrendering only 17 sacks. Turner rushed for 1,699 yards and a team-record 17 rushing touchdowns while finishing second in the NFL in MVP balloting. Ryan was named the Associated Press Rookie of the Year as he became only the second rookie in NFL history at the time to throw for 3,000 yards in his first season, joining Peyton Manning (1998).
Prior to joining the Falcons, Mularkey spent two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, as offensive coordinator in 2006 and tight ends coach in 2007.
Mularkey served as head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2004-05, leading the club to a 14-18 overall record. In his first season he directed the Bills to their first winning season in five years with a 9-7 record as the club tallied wins in nine of its final 12 games. The 2004 campaign is the last time the Bills have posted a winning record.
From 1996-2003, Mularkey spent eight seasons on the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff under head coach Bill Cowher, including the last three years as offensive coordinator. Under Mularkey’s direction as coordinator, the Steelers finished third and fifth, respectively, in the NFL in total offense in his first two years. The Steelers led the NFL in rushing in 2001 with a 173.4-yard average per game, finishing that campaign with a 13-3 record and an AFC Central Division title while advancing to the AFC Championship game.
In 2001 Mularkey tutored quarterback Kordell Stewart, who threw for 3,109 yards and was voted to the Pro Bowl. Mularkey played a key role in the development of quarterback Tommy Maddox’s career in 2002. After not playing in the NFL for five years, Maddox threw for 2,836 yards with 20 touchdowns and set a single-season franchise record with a 62.1 completion percentage to earn NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Mularkey spent his first five seasons in Pittsburgh as the club’s tight ends coach where he helped mold Mark Bruener into one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the league. Running back Jerome Bettis eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for five straight years, while the Steelers ranked among the top 10 in the league in rushing in all five seasons including an NFL-best 154.9-yard average in 2007.
Mularkey entered the NFL coaching ranks in 1994 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as quality control coach before he was promoted to tight ends coach the following season. In his only season working with the Buccaneers tight ends, Jackie Harris had a team-high 62 receptions for 751 yards to become one of only three tight ends in team history to lead the team in receiving. Mularkey began his coaching career in 1993 at Concordia College where he oversaw the offensive line.
Drafted in the ninth round by the San Francisco 49ers in 1983, Mularkey played nine seasons in the NFL. He was released by the 49ers at the end of his first training camp and was signed by Minnesota. He spent the next six seasons with the Vikings before being signed as a Plan B free agent in 1989 by the Steelers, where he played for three seasons. Mularkey concluded his career with 102 receptions for 1,222 yards and nine touchdowns in 114 games played.
A graduate of Northeast High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Mularkey played quarterback and earned a scholarship to the University of Florida. He was a three-year letterman at tight end for the Gators from 1979-82. He and his wife, Betsy, have two sons, Patrick, a scouting assistant with the Jaguars, and Shane, a student at the University of North Carolina.
COACHING BACKGROUND: Concordia College 1993, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1994-95, Pittsburgh Steelers 1996-2003, Buffalo Bills 2004-05 (head coach), Miami Dolphins 2006-07, Atlanta Falcons 2008-11, Jacksonville Jaguars 2012 (head coach).