Chris Mullins wasn’t actively seeking another job when the Paul Laurence Dunbar head football coaching position came open.
But the Greenup County coach knew the opportunity was what he was looking for anyway.
Mullins has agreed to become the Bulldogs’ new coach. He was to meet his new players at the Lexington Class 6A school today.
Mullins is leaving the only high school program he’s ever known — he was an All-Area running back for the Musketeers, graduating in 1999. Mullins returned to Greenup County after college as an assistant for five seasons before becoming the head coach in 2011.
“When I took the Greenup job, it was never about trying to use that as an opportunity to get a better job,” Mullins said. “I just went to work every day and tried to figure out what was best for the Greenup football program and the Greenup kids and community. And it just happened that if you work hard and do the right things, sometimes good opportunities present themselves.”
Mullins, 34, said he and wife Meredith had long wanted to raise their children — Graham, 1, and Liam, 3 — in the Lexington area.
“That job came open; I was like, ‘Well, that’s interesting,’” Mullins said. “The timing wasn’t exactly what I would like. I would’ve liked to have seen this senior class through this year, but I thought, I’ll just throw my name in the hat and see what happens.”
Greenup County was 13-40 in Mullins’ five seasons as coach, which perhaps only underscores the task he undertook when he accepted the job.
Last fall, Greenup County went 6-6, its first .500 season since 2003. The Musketeers won six games for the first time since 2002 and collected their first playoff victory since 2007 and only the sixth in the 43-year history of the program.
Mullins was tabbed Class 4A, District 8 Coach of the Year by the Kentucky Football Coaches Association after that campaign.
Not bad, considering where Mullins started: Greenup County lost his first 22 games, making for the longest losing streak in the state by the time it ended on Sept. 6, 2013, at 24 games.
“That to me is how you gauge whether someone has done a good job or not,” Mullins said. “Compare where the program was when they started versus when they left, and I think this program is now an attractive job. There’s money, there’s great booster support, there are consecutive classes all the way down through junior high that are gonna be very competitive.
“We have a great weight room, a great locker room, and great support from the administration. Most of the key components to a good football program are in place right now, and that makes me happy.”
Mullins is retaining his math teaching job at Greenup County High School through the end of the school year, he said.
With Mullins’ move, each of the Musketeers’ last two coaches now leads a Class 6A program in one of the state’s biggest cities. Mike Copley became the coach at Ballard in Louisville earlier in February.
“He was one of the first to congratulate me, and we’ve actually already talked about trying to schedule one another,” Mullins said with a laugh.
Mullins expressed thanks to the Greenup County community, boosters, administration and players and area coaches for support.
“It says a lot about the type of people that live here,” he said, “the well-wishes and everything that has been sent my way.”
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