Mike Mularkey

Mike Mularkey
Mike Mularkey
Date of birth November 19, 1961 (1961-11-19) (age 49)
Place of birth Miami, Florida
Position(s) Head Coach
Tight End
College Florida
NFL Draft 1983 / Round 9
Regular season 14-18-0
Postseason 0-0
Career record 14-18-0
Playing stats NFL.com
Coaching stats Pro Football Reference
Minnesota Vikings
Pittsburgh Steelers






Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(Tight ends)
Pittsburgh Steelers
(Tight ends)
Pittsburgh Steelers
(Offensive coordinator)
Buffalo Bills
(Head coach)
Miami Dolphins
(Offensive coordinator)
Miami Dolphins
(Tight ends)
Atlanta Falcons
(Offensive coordinator)

Michael Rene Mularkey (born November 19, 1961) is an American professional football coach and a former college and professional football player. He played college football for the [[University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally he played 9 seasons in the NFL as a tight end for the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He has served as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the tight ends coach for the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL. Mularkey is currently the offensive coordinator for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.


Early years

Mularkey was born in Miami, Florida.[1] He attended Northeast High School in Oakland Park, Florida, and played quarterback for the Northeast Hurricanes high school football team.

College career

Mularkey attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played tight end for coach Charley Pell's Florida Gators football team from 1980 to 1982.[2]

Professional career

In 1983, Mularkey was a ninth-round draft pick for the San Francisco 49ers, but was cut before appearing in game. He went on to play with the Minnesota Vikings until the conclusion of the 1988 season. In 1989, he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent for the final three years of his playing career. In his nine NFL seasons, Mularkey played in 114 regular season games, started forty-six of them, and caught 102 passes for 1,222 yards and nine touchdowns.[1]

Career statistics

Year Team G Rec Yards Y/R TD
1983 Minnesota Vikings 3 0 0 0 0
1984 Minnesota Vikings 16 14 134 9.6 2
1985 Minnesota Vikings 15 13 196 15.1 1
1986 Minnesota Vikings 16 11 89 8.1 2
1987 Minnesota Vikings 9 1 6 6.0 0
1988 Minnesota Vikings 16 3 39 13.0 0
1989 Pittsburgh Steelers 14 22 326 14.8 1
1990 Pittsburgh Steelers 16 32 365 11.4 3
1991 Pittsburgh Steelers 9 6 67 11.2 0

Coaching career

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mularkey started his coaching career in 1994 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a Quality Control coach for both the offense and defense. In 1995 he was promoted to Tight End Coach and held the position for one season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Mularkey was hired as the Pittsburgh Steelers tight ends coach in 1996 and held the position until the conclusion of the 2000 season, when he replaced Kevin Gilbride as the team's offensive coordinator. He has a reputation for being an offense-oriented head coach with a penchant for trick plays. His skill for creating special packages to utilize multi-dimensional players such as Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El earned him the nickname "Inspector Gadget"[3] . Even with his creative imagination, his philosophy of being the most physical punishing offense helped the Steelers average 10+ wins a year during his 3 years as offensive coordinator.

Buffalo Bills

In 2004, Mularkey left the Steelers and was hired by the Buffalo Bills to succeed Gregg Williams as the team's head coach. Mularkey started out his first campaign as Bills head coach with a record of 0–4. He rallied his team to a 9–7 record by the end of the season, however, sparked by a six-game winning streak during which the Bills scored more points than in any other similar stretch in franchise history. Overall they were 7th in the league in total offense. This has been their last winning season to date.

His second season in Buffalo was far less successful. Dogged by a quarterback controversy between J.P. Losman and Kelly Holcomb and a series of defensive personnel problems, Mularkey led the team to a 5–11 finish and a sixth consecutive year out of the playoffs - the longest such active streak in the AFC. Mularkey's offensive schemes continued to be touted by then general manager Tom Donahoe, despite the lack of production, finishing 24th in total offense.

On January 12, 2006, Mularkey resigned as head coach of the Bills, citing a disagreement in the direction of the organization, which had recently hired new management including ex-coach Marv Levy.

Miami Dolphins

On January 22, 2006, Mularkey was hired to be the Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator.[4] As the offensive coordinator under Miami's coach, Nick Saban, Mularkey had an unsuccessful season with injuries to his first string quarterback, Daunte Culpepper, and running back, Ronnie Brown. The Dolphins only scored 16.3 points per game, ranking 29th in the NFL. Following the season, it was announced Saban had resigned as Dolphins head coach and he accepted the position of head coach of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide on January 3, 2007.

Upon the hiring of former San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron as Dolphins head coach on January 19, 2007, it was announced that Mularkey would no longer serve as offensive coordinator but would remain with the team in another capacity. On March 15, 2007 it was officially announced that Cameron himself would call the offensive plays in 2007, leaving Mularkey to serve as tight ends coach.

On January 3, 2008 it was announced that Mularkey was let go from his tight ends coach position, as were all other coaches for the Miami Dolphins.[5]

Atlanta Falcons

On January 25, 2008 it was announced that he would become the next offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.[6][7] In his first season at Atlanta, Mularkey's offense rushed for 152.5 rushing yards per game, second most in the league. The Falcons also finished 10th in the NFL in scoring (up from 29th the previous year) with 24.4 points per game, and 6th in yards with 361.2 per game. After the 2010 season, Mularkey interviewed with multiple NFL teams for their head coaching vacancies for 2011.[8]

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
BUF 2004 9 7 0 .563 3rd in AFC East - - -
BUF 2005 5 11 0 .313 3rd in AFC East - - -


Mularkey is married to Elizabeth "Betsy" Conant Mularkey, who is also a University of Florida alumna. The Mularkeys have two sons, Patrick and Shane.

See also



  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0794822983.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196x.

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