What are the ‘Noles getting in Norvell?

FSU just hired Memphis coach Mike Norvell to take over the Noles football team. As I did prior to UF’s hiring of Dan Mullen and FSU’s acquisition of Willie Taggart, I took a look at how the coach had performed at his prior post in terms of winning and recruiting. Here is a quick and dirty look of what I found on Norvell.

On-Field Performance

Memphis was on the rise prior to Norvell taking over. This often makes sense at smaller schools- they are often replacing successful coaches when those coaches get offers to bigger programs, as was the case when Norvell took over for Justin Fuente, who left to coach Virginia Tech.

norvell charts

As the above charts show, Memphis was performing fairly well prior to Norvell. To his credit, they didn’t fall much once he took over. The tables below outline the numbers.

tables w norvell

The columns with heat mapping are standardized values. The thing that stands out about Norvell is that his offenses have always performed above the conference average, even in a time in which UCF was lighting that league up. His offenses were 0.850, 1.573, 1.378, and 1.169 standard deviations above the league mean.


In looking at Memphis’ recruiting during Norvell’s tenure, I found he has done pretty well compared to his competitors. Not great, but not poor either. The chart below shows the 247 Composite recruiting scores for Memphis vs the AAC from 2016-2019. In these years, he was 0.633 (2016), 1.419 (2017), 0.004 (2018), and 1.110 (2019)  standard deviations above the conference recruiting score means. So he essentially had an ok year, a good year, and an average year, and another good year.


Here is a look at the tables with the recruiting scores for the AAC during that time:



All in all, FSU is likely getting a better coach than Taggart, but that isn’t really saying much. It is difficult to project how he will do at a larger program. I guess we shall see…


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