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.
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.
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.
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.