It’s been a tough year for the Mississippi State football program, starting with the passing of Mike Leach on December 12, 2022. Zach Arnett was given the head coaching position to replace Leach but was not even given a full year.
Mississippi State and its new athletic director, Zac Selmon want a clean slate for their football team and will be looking for a more permanent hire. Arnett was fired on Monday morning, just two days after a 51-10 loss to Texas A&M dropped the Bulldogs to 4-6. The Aggies fired Jimbo Fisher just yesterday.
Arnett was put in a very tough spot after he was elevated from his defensive coordinator role. His roster was built for Mike Leach’s air-raid offense and the transition was anything but smooth on either side of the ball.
In a statement, Selmon said “Zach took on an unprecedented and challenging situation last December. He provided much needed leadership and stability during a tragic time. There is no question that he has made a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes during his time here. We are grateful for his contributions to Mississippi State and wish him the very best both personally and professionally.”
Selmon now has an opportunity to make a splash in his first major hire as the AD in Starkville. The Bulldogs need to get the program back on track quickly with Texas and Oklahoma on their way to the SEC.
Selmon opened the statement by saying “As part of my thorough and continued evaluation, I have determined that a change in leadership is necessary to move our football program forward and position it for the highest level of success” and continued “I have the utmost respect for Zach Arnett and am incredibly appreciative of the effort he put forth in leading our football program.”
Arnett’s buyout is $4.5, a far cry from Jimbo Fisher’s $77 million. Even a blowout win over Mississippi State on Saturday couldn’t save Fisher at Texas A&M and it was enough to doom Arnett.
Arnett will be a candidate for multiple defensive coordinator jobs across the country and is already rumored to be in the mix at USC as Alex Grinch’s replacement. Mike Leach was a tough act to follow in Starkville, but Grinch, not so much.
Despite still being in bowl contention, Mississippi State is just 1-6 in the SEC with the lone victory coming against Arkansas, who could also be in the market for a new head coach soon.