Not surprisingly, the man who opened the 2019 season as Memphis’ head coach won’t be there to finish out the year.
Over the weekend, Mike Norvell accepted the job as head football coach at Florida State. Sunday, it was confirmed that Memphis had earned the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bid and will face Penn State in the Cotton Bowl Dec. 28.
In a statement sent out through the university’s student newspaper, however, Norvell confirmed that he will not be on the sidelines when the Tigers face the Nittany Lions as he turns his full attention to the Seminoles.
It is with tremendous sadness announcing that I have coached my last game leading that great team. With the transition to a new opportunity and a restricted calendar, which is unique to this year, I will not be able to coach the Cotton Bowl. As I have told the team throughout my time, you give everything you have each and every day to the best of your ability focused on your CLIMB, and I could not stand in front of them without being able to prepare to the level they deserve. The team is in great hands with the administration, the coaching staff and the leaders on the team will continue to do what they have been trained to do and RESPOND.
Norvell won’t coach his new team in the Sun Bowl, either, as interim head coach Odell Haggins will guide the team for a fifth-straight game. It was confirmed yesterday that Norvell has decided to retain Haggins as part of his first FSU coaching staff.
As for Norvell’s former team, offensive line coach/running-game coordinator Ryan Silverfield has been named interim head coach. There’s a growing sense that Silverfield could end up being the permanent replacement when it’s all said and done.