Chris Mullins made one thing clear as he was introduced as Paul Laurence Dunbar’s new football coach on Monday: He isn’t going anywhere.
Mullins, 34, is Dunbar’s eighth head coach since Mike Meighan retired following the 2000 season. Paul Rains, who took the job in 2013 but in January decided to retire from coaching, was the program’s longest-tenured coach since David Hensley led the Bulldogs from 2005 to 2007.
Mullins arrived at Dunbar by way of Greenup County, where he was the head coach the previous five years and an assistant before that. Mullins also played for the Musketeers in the late 1990s.
He’s eager to put a stop to the revolving door of coaches at Dunbar and bring its football program to a level of success other team sports have consistently enjoyed since the school opened in 1990.
Defense doesn’t take talent. I’m gonna find 11 guys that are nasty, physical and will do what they’re coached to do and that’s gonna be the staple of our program. We want people to not want to play us because of the brand of defense that we play.
Chris Mullins, new Dunbar head coach
“You don’t have any excuses here, guys,” Mullins said in front of a room full of football players, administrators and media. “ ... You’re competitive at almost everything that you guys do. You haven’t had a whole lot of consistency here. I’m not going anywhere. So if you don’t like me already, that sucks.”
Mullins, who teaches mathematics, has a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old and has no desire to bounce around from school to school looking for the “best” football situation. “I like to teach, I like to coach. I’m gonna be here. My kids are gonna be here. We’re gonna do this together.”
He was 13-40 as a head coach at Greenup County, but six of those wins came last season, including the Musketeers’ first playoff win since 2007. Greenup had 16 players and was struggling financially when he took over; last season its roster included 58 players and the school sponsored full JV and freshman teams. He said naysayers have a right to their opinions and it’s his responsibility to make believers out of them, something he’s confident will happen.
An immediate goal Mullins has in mind for Dunbar is to be the top program in Fayette County, and to do so with defense, his specialty. He wants to employ a shotgun offense that gives Dunbar more dimensions and players an opportunity to transition more easily to the next level.
“Defense doesn’t take talent,” Mullins said. “I’m gonna find 11 guys that are nasty, physical and will do what they’re coached to do, and that’s gonna be the staple of our program. We want people to not want to play us because of the brand of defense that we play.”