When you have the same head coach from 1976 until 2009, there isn’t a chance to put together a long list of the worst hires in program history. Bobby Bowden handed the program to Jimbo Fisher, who won Florida State’s third national championship, but there were still some rough stretches for the Seminoles in their 70 seasons of college football.
Two of the coaches on this list came before Bowden’s legendary run in Tallahassee, but one is a lot more recent. Mike Norvell’s predecessor had Florida State in a bad spot when Norvell took over in 2020, but Norvell has quickly turned the school back into a national powerhouse. A devastating injury to Jordan Travis might be the only thing that stops the Seminoles from winning their fourth national championship.
Norvell appears to be closer to joining Fisher and Bowden as FSU legends, than joining the names on this list. Let’s get into the worst coaching hires in Florida State history.
Florida State’s football program was still relatively in its infancy when Darrell Mudra took over for Larry Jones in 1974. Bill Peterson had given the program credibility, but when Mudra was hired, the Seminoles were coming off an 0-11 season.
Mudra improved on that 0-11 record by going 1-10 in 1974. He was a longtime college football head coach, but didn’t provide the stability that Florida State desperately needed. In his second season, the team went 3-8 and his was fired, clearing the way for Bobby Bowden.
Mudra was one of the worst hires in FSU history, but he was the best fire by the program. His struggles paved the way for 34 years of Bowden and 41 straight winning seasons.