Mississippi State News & Notes: Dan Mullen is STILL the Football Coach


Here are some things going on around MSU athletics:

  1. The men’s basketball teams scratched their way back to a winning record (4-3) with an 86-73 win over Texas Southern on Wednesday night. Gavin Ware lead all scorers, again, with 19 and boards with 11. STATS
  2. The #9 Lady Bulldogs suffered their first defeat on Wednesday night, falling to #6 Texas in Austin, 53-47. Victoria Vivians led all scorers with 12 and boards with seven. STATS
  3. Dak Prescott won the Conerly Award for Mississippi’s best college football player on Tuesday night. He became just the second player in the history of the award to win it twice and the first to do it in back-to-back years, and he makes the third straight MSU player to win (Gabe Jackson in 2013).
  4. MSU picked up a commitment from Marquiss Spencer on Monday. He’s a 3-star defensive end out of Greenwood, MS. He is the 15th member of the 2016 class which currently ranks 38th according to 247 Sports.
  5. Elijah Staley has joined the basketball team – his first game (though he did not play) was Wednesday night. Staley came to MSU intending to play football and basketball but was sidelined about this time last year after an injury in basketball practice….so he is a redshirt freshman in both sports for 2015-16.

Can we finally put to bed these Dan Mullen rumors (Virginia Tech, Maryland, Georgia and Miami have all hired a new coach)? And I don’t even mean the media or other schools, but State fans. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen who are upset because they believe Dan is actively seeking another job. Just because his name is being mentioned at seemingly every job opening doesn’t mean his agent is hand-delivering his résumé trying to get him out of Starkville. Just because some media types are throwing his name in the ring and speculating that he wants to leave doesn’t make it true.

Look at the facts in the case. In past years he has been linked to Miami, Penn State, Colorado, Florida and others. This year things heated up perhaps more than most with Virginia Tech, Maryland, Georgia….and Miami again. He’s been mentioned with at least a dozen power five conference jobs while at Mississippi State and he’s still at Mississippi State. If he really wanted to leave, he would have left.

Some of these schools looking for coaches hire a search committee and they cast a big net looking to find out who is interested and viable. They most likely called Dan Mullen because they are intrigued by what he’s accomplished at MSU – but that doesn’t mean he expressed interest, or even if he interviewed over the phone or otherwise does it mean he was trying to leave Mississippi State.

One thing people can’t seem to wrap their head around is there are many head coaches who are at non-traditional football powers like Mississippi State or Baylor or TCU who are getting paid really well and have a shot at winning big because they are in a power five league. It’s hard to pull away a coach making $4 million plus. Regardless of what pundits want to say, the facts in the case indicate that the money, location to talented recruits, facilities and conference affiliation make MSU a top 25 job.

It’s very possible that after the 2010 season when Mullen interviewed with Miami that he was looking for a “step-up”. At the time he was making $1.2 million per year, which was near the bottom of the SEC, and just turned around MSU in two years. But then he got a big raise. A new football only practice facility and stadium expansion was built. Then he built the program into a really good one and makes the 16th highest salary in the nation. The MSU he knew when he took the job, or even in 2010, is a lot different and more attractive in 2015.

Mullen is on the verge of becoming a legend at Mississippi State. He’s only 43 years old – not 54 like Jackie Sherrill was after his seventh season. Mullen has a lot in the tank, and a number more years of success in Starkville and there will be a statue of him in front of the stadium. As he continues to mold and shape the program with each new team, hopefully he’ll reach that goal of winning the SEC West and a conference championship. But for now, MSU fans are experiencing one of the best sustained runs of success in their football history and the future looks bright with Coach Mullen.