Hal Mumme

Hal Clay Mumme (b. March 29, 1952 in San Antonio, Texas) is the current head football coach at New Mexico State University.

Playing career

Mumme played football as a receiver for Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas, Texas, going on after graduation to play at New Mexico Military Institute and at Tarleton State University. While an undergraduate, he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order.

Early coaching career

Mumme’s coaching career began as the offensive coordinator at Foy H. Moody High School in Corpus Christi, Texas from 1976 through 1978. In 1979 he was the head coach at Aransas Pass High School. Mumme was an assistant coach (quarterbacks and receivers) under Bill Yung at West Texas State University in 1980 and 1981, offensive coordinator also under Yung at UTEP from 1982 through 1985, and head coach at Copperas Cove High School from 1986 through 1988.

During his time as a high school and college assistant coach Mumme developed an unorthodox, pass-oriented offensive attack that proved very successful at moving the ball, gaining yardage and scoring points. The unusual attack, utilizing short passes to multiple receivers and backs out of the backfield, allowed Mumme’s teams to compete against more talented and athletic opponents. BYU head coach LaVell Edwards was a major influence on Mumme’s offensive strategy.

Iowa Wesleyan College

Mumme became head coach at Iowa Wesleyan College in 1989 and was there through 1991. The year before Mumme’s arrival, Iowa Wesleyan finished 0-10. Mumme inherited a roster with only three returning players. His records there were 7-4 in 1989, 8-4 in 1990 and 10-2 in 1991. The 1991 squad was the first in school history to make the national playoffs, losing in the national quarterfinals. Mumme’s 1990 team led the nation in passing offense and the 1989 and 1991 squads finished second nationally in that category. Mumme finished at Iowa Wesleyan with a 25-10 record and was the NAIA District Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1991.

Valdosta State University

Mumme took over as head coach at Valdosta State University in 1992 and led the team to records of 5-4-1 in 1992, 8-3 in 1993, 11-2 in 1994, 6-5 in 1995 and 10-3 in 1996. Mumme’s record at Valdosta State was 40-17-1. In both 1994 and 1996 he led the team to the NCAA Division II playoff quarterfinals; Valdosta State had never made the playoffs previously. The team was consistently ranked in the Division II top 20 and was ranked #1 in the nation in Division II for part of the 1996 season when they won their first Gulf South Conference championship. In 1994 Valdosta State defeated the University of Central Florida 31-14, an upset over the team picked by Sports Illustrated in the preseason to win the NCAA Division I-AA national football championship. Quarterback Chris Hatcher won the Harlon Hill Award as player of the year in NCAA Division II football.

Mumme's last game as coach at VSU was an NCAA playoff loss to Carson-Newman. Rumors had been floating around the VSU campus that Mumme had already accepted the job at Kentucky but that no announcement had been made due to VSU still being in the playoffs. After the VSU loss, Mumme did not return to Valdosta with the team. Instead, he went to Lexington, KY, for a press conference announcing his being hired as the UK coach. Many VSU players felt that Mumme had not given his best effort in the loss to Carson-Newman, which included four trips to the "redzone" without scoring.

University of Kentucky

In 1997 the University of Kentucky hired Mumme to replace Bill Curry. Curry’s seven years at Kentucky had all resulted in losing seasons except for his 1993 team which finished 6-6 after losing to Clemson in the Peach Bowl. Curry’s recent teams had been among the worst in the nation in most offensive categories. Fans had met the 1996 season with some of the smallest crowds in the history of Commonwealth Stadium.

Kentucky opened the 1997 season against archrival Louisville, who had won two straight against Kentucky. With Mumme’s passing attack (called the Air Raid offense, complete with wailing air sirens as part of the pregame activities and after touchdowns) Kentucky jumped out to a 21-0 lead en route to an exciting 38-24 victory. Sophomore quarterback Tim Couch passed for a (then) school record 398 yards in the game. Kentucky then lost a road game at Mississippi State, 35-27, before winning 49-7 as an underdog at Indiana. A 55-28 loss to #1 ranked Florida was followed by an exciting 40-34 overtime victory over a ranked Alabama team, at the end of which the Kentucky fans tore down the goalposts in celebration for the first time ever. The victory was Kentucky’s first against Alabama since 1922 and first against a Top 20 team since 1988. Kentucky closed the season in a 59-31 loss to Tennessee in which dueling quarterbacks Tim Couch and Peyton Manning combined for over 1,000 yards of passing offense and a new Commonwealth Stadium attendance record of 61,076 was set following the near upset by UK the previous year when Tim Couch was the back-up quarterback.

Kentucky finished the 1997 season with 5 wins and 6 losses and new school records on offense. Commonwealth Stadium was packed for home games. Fans were excited by the action on offense and the gambling decisions made by the staff, including frequent fake punts on fourth down.

Kentucky opened the 1998 season in the first game at Louisville’s new Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Kentucky jumped out to a 62-12 lead and won in a 68-34 rout. Kentucky opened the season 3-0 and entered some top 25 polls for the first time since 1984. Season highlights included an exciting 39-36 victory in Baton Rouge against a ranked LSU team and a lopsided 55-17 home finale against Vanderbilt. Kentucky botched an end-of-game field goal attempt in losing 28-26 to #11 ranked Georgia but finished with a 7-4 record and invitation to the Outback Bowl, Kentucky’s first New Year’s Day bowl game in 46 years. In the Outback Bowl Kentucky jumped out to a 14-3 lead against #22 Penn State but ultimately lost 26-14. Several new school records were set on offense, and quarterback Tim Couch was the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft. Resurgent fan support led to the expansion of Commonwealth Stadium, increasing it to approximately 68,000 seats.

1999 was expected to be a down year for the Wildcats due to the loss of Couch, star receiver Craig Yeast and a veteran offensive line. Also, Kentucky’s offensive coordinator in 1997 and 1998, Mike Leach (now the head coach at Texas Tech) departed to become the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. However, Kentucky finished the season with a 6-5 record and a 4-4 mark in the Southeastern Conference. Season highlights included a 31-20 victory over #20 Arkansas and a one point loss due to a last second field goal at #8 Mississippi State. Tight end James Whalen Jr. was a first team All American including on the Associated Press All American team. Kentucky was invited to the Music City Bowl and jumped out to an early lead against Syracuse but lost Whalen to injury and ultimately lost a close game 20-13.

With the close of the 1999 season problems began to emerge. Kentucky’s offense, prolific in Mumme’s first two seasons, had slowed significantly in the latter half of the season as coaches adjusted better against it. The lack of a deep pass threat allowed defenses to stack the box and play up hard on Kentucky; often the performances of tight end Whalen were what kept the Wildcats moving the ball. The gambling, blitzing defense, conceived to compliment the offensive style, consistently gave up big plays and broke down in third and long situations. Tony Franklin was named the offensive coordinator to resuscitate the ailing spread offense. During the off season Kentucky landed a surprising string of commitments from several very highly regarded recruits from various areas of the country. However, as the 2000 season commenced, questions and investigations concerning NCAA rules violations emerged. Mumme’s preseason announcement that untested freshman Jared Lorenzen would replace starter Dusty Bonner at quarterback caused consternation among some of the players. The season began with Kentucky squandering a lead at Louisville after a prolonged lightning storm delayed the game and losing in overtime after botching a short field goal attempt at the end of regulation. Jinxed on and off the field, Kentucky finished 2-9 despite playing some very close games and producing some gaudy numbers on offense, ranked as the nation’s 2nd best passing offense and 11th in total offense (445 yards per game). By the end of the season it was becoming apparent that the coaching staff had committed significant NCAA rules violations. Ultimately, his football operations director was placed under an eight-year "show-cause" order, which effectively blackballed him from college sports until 2009.

After announcing the termination of his recruiting coordinator and unpopular defensive coordinator, Mumme resigned on national signing day in February 2001 and, leaving Lexington under a cloud due to the NCAA investigation, he was replaced as head coach by his offensive line coach Guy Morriss who had a good record despite probation, loss of scholarships and ban on postseason play during those three years. The penalties kept Kentucky’s 2002 team from a bowl appearance despite a 7-5 record.

Southeastern Louisiana University

After a hiatus of 18 months Mumme returned to football as the 12th head coach for the Southeastern Louisiana Lions in Hammond, Louisiana. The school had terminated its football program in 1985 but decided to compete again and did so in 2003 at the NCAA Division I-AA level. The team finished its first season 5-7 and posted a 7-4 mark in 2004. The program posted a 51-17 win over #6 McNeese State and entered the Top 25 in the national I-AA rankings. Southeastern Louisiana ranked first among NCAA Division I-AA teams in total offense per game (537.1 yards) and passing offense per game (408 yards) in 2003.

New Mexico State University

In December 2004 Mumme was named the head coach at Division I-A New Mexico State University, replacing Tony Samuel. Samuel had run an option offense at the school and the transition to Mumme’s passing offense was difficult. New Mexico State finished 0-12 in Mumme’s first season (2005). Recently there has been a major controversy when the American Civil Liberties Union charged that Mumme had discriminated against a Muslim player including suggesting that Muslim player's travel be restricted after 9/11 and forcing them to join in Christian prayer. An investigation is still pending.

Entering the 2006 season Mumme’s career record as a Division I head coach was 32-49. In the first game of the 2006 season, Mumme's New Mexico State team beat his former team, Southeastern Louisiana, 30-15. The 2006 New Mexico State squad went on to post a 3-9 record for the season, and for part of the season, led all Division I-A football programs in total offense and passing offense. New Mexico State finished 4-9 in 2007.

Coaching influences

In the late 1990s many coaches were interested in emulating Mumme’s successful Air Raid offense. Several Mumme assistant coaches have gone on to success including:

  • Tony Franklin, former offensive coordinator at Auburn University; he was offensive coordinator at Kentucky in the last portion of Mumme's tenure there
  • Chris Hatcher, head coach at Georgia Southern University 2007 - ; previously Head Coach at Valdosta State University 2000-2006 with a 76-12 record (.875); Hatcher was a player under Mumme at Valdosta State and an assistant under Mumme at Valdosta State in 1995 and Kentucky in 1997-1999.
  • Scott Highsmith, offensive coordinator at Southeastern Louisiana; was on Mumme's staff at Kentucky
  • Tim Keane, secondary coach at Memphis; was on Mumme's staff at Kentucky
  • Mike Leach, head coach at Texas Tech 2000-present (41-22, .651) and offensive coordinator at Oklahoma 1999-2000; Leach was an assistant under Mumme from 1989-1998 at Iowa Wesleyan, Valdosta State and Kentucky
  • Guy Morriss, former head coach at Baylor University 2003-2007 and head coach at Kentucky 2001-2002, was offensive line coach under Mumme at Kentucky
  • Darrell Patterson, linebackers coach at Stanford University, was on Mumme's staff at Kentucky
  • Dennis Roland, head coach at Southeastern Louisiana, 2005-present (4-6, .400); Roland was an assistant under Mumme at Southeastern Louisiana
  • Sonny Dykes, offensive coordinator at University of Arizona; he was part of Mumme's offensive staff during his tenure there.


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