Ex-Bills coach Mularkey joins Dolphins

Updated: January 26, 2006, 2:15 AM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI - Former Buffalo Bills coach Mike Mularkey is headed home to his native South Florida.

Barely a week after quitting as coach of the Bills, Mularkey agreed Sunday to become offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins.

The 44-year-old Mularkey grew up in Fort Lauderdale, then played at the University of Florida. He was offered the Dolphins' job when he met Friday with coach Nick Saban.

Scott Linehan, Saban's offensive coordinator last season, departed Thursday to become head coach of the St. Louis Rams.

Mularkey becomes the Dolphins' fourth offensive coordinator since May 2004, and the seventh since Gary Stevens was fired following the 1997 season.

Under Linehan, the Dolphins improved to 14th in the NFL in offense from 29th in 2004. They split two games last season with the Bills.

"I am looking forward to returning to South Florida and joining the Dolphins," Mularkey said in a statement.

"Having faced Miami twice last year, I saw for myself how well-balanced their offense was, and the progress they made during the course of the season. I'm looking forward to working with Coach Saban, his staff and the Dolphins players to help continue that improvement this year."

This offseason Miami is expected to try to upgrade the offensive line and the quarterback position, with incumbent Gus Frerotte's return uncertain.

Mularkey's unexpected resignation in Buffalo came after the Bills fired five assistant coaches and hired Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy as general manager. In his two seasons in Buffalo, the team went 9-7 and then 5-11 in 2005.

The Bills' offense ranked 28th in the NFL last year, when Mularkey was working with a shaky offensive line and a second-year quarterback, J.P. Losman.

"It was clear that his teams always played hard and were well-coached in all aspects of the game," Saban said. "He instilled in his players a sense of belief in his system, and those leadership skills will serve him well in his new role."

Before going to Buffalo, Mularkey spent 10 years as an NFL assistant, including three as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator. In Mularkey's first two seasons as coordinator, the Steelers ranked third and fifth in the NFL in offense, and quarterbacks Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox enjoyed the best seasons of their careers.

"His expertise produced an explosive and physical style of play, and he raised the production level of his quarterbacks," Saban said.

Mularkey played tight end in the NFL from 1983-91.




Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index