The Wednesday Wrap: How to conduct the Mississippi State football coaching search

STARKVILLE, MS - SEPTEMBER 21: General view of Davis Wade Stadium prior to the matchup between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Kentucky Wildcats on September 21, 2019 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
STARKVILLE, MS - SEPTEMBER 21: General view of Davis Wade Stadium prior to the matchup between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Kentucky Wildcats on September 21, 2019 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

We’re talking about the same thing everyone else will be talking about over the next month here on The Wednesday Wrap, the search for a new Mississippi State football coach

What I’ve been wondering…

It shouldn’t come as a surprise the one thing I’ve been wondering about is who will be the new Mississippi State football coach when the 2024 season starts. So where should Mississippi State AD Zac Selmon start and conduct this search? Here is the way I would do it.

The First Five

There is no such thing as a sure thing when hiring a head football coach. No previous record, no prior successes, nothing can guarantee you will find a coach that will be as successful as you might hope. But you can find a coach that will be the most likely to get you the results you want.

The best chance the next Mississippi State football coach will be successful is to hire someone from a Power Five school that has a similar history and prestige level to Mississippi State. And if that’s the case, I contact these five coaches, in no particular order, before I do anything else.

  • Jonathan Smith of Oregon State
  • Chris Klieman of Kansas State
  • Lance Leipold of Kansas
  • Mike Elko of Duke
  • Jedd Fisch of Arizona

I’m not going to go into details about why or why not they would make good candidates for the Mississippi State football coach other than they are at similar programs as ours, and they have been successful. There will be people who will make the argument about fit, not being familiar with the south, and not having an SEC pedigree. You can make some of those arguments against everyone I just listed. But at the end of the day, they are going to have the best track records of people you might could get to say yes to you.

And that is the key, will they say yes? You have to offer them significant raises and make them say no. The likelihood for almost every single one of these coaches is they probably don’t want to jump to a school similar to the one they are currently at. Your best hope is to offer them the chance to compete against the best schools in the country. And if they all say no, you move on to the next group.

The Group of Five Candidates

If you can’t get a sitting Power Five coach, you try to get an up and coming Group of Five coach who has been highly successful. These are the ones that the Mississippi State football program needs to turn to if they don’t get a Power Five coach.

  • Jamey Chadwell of Liberty
  • Rhett Lashlee of SMU
  • GJ Kinne of Texas State
  • Tom Herman of Florida Atlantic
  • Clay Helton of Georgia Southern
  • Willie Fritz of Tulane
  • Jon Sumrall of Troy

There are probably a few more I am forgetting, but you get the idea. If they have been good at a Group of Five school, then you need to give them a call. There are two that will likely jump out to most people. Clay Helton and Tom Herman both were at Blue Blood schools and were let go. Clay Helton has had tremendous success at Georgia Southern and has proven he is still a good coach. Florida Atlantic is struggling in its first year under Herman, but he was handed a disaster of a situation left by previous head coach Willie Taggart. FAU has been bad, but they have been better than most thought they would be.

The rest are all highly successful coaches who have never been coaches at Power Five schools. Some will be more attractive than others and some will be better received than others, but they are who you go to. All of these coaches will be looking for a step up to a Power Five school soon, you just have to convince one of them that the Mississippi State football program is where they belong.

Dan Mullen

Here is the one that will divide the Mississippi State football fan base. Dan Mullen is seven wins away from being the all time winningest head coach in Mississippi State football history. He’s as proven, if not more proven than any other head coach I’ve listed. So why isn’t Mullen at the top of my list?

Despite his success, in the short time since Dan Mullen left the Mississippi State football team, the college football world has changed. Mullen was never much for recruiting high schoolers, and in the NIL and portal era of college football, you also have to recruit your own roster every year. I’m not sure how capable Mullen would be at this or if he would even want to do this.

Any other coordinator

If we reach this point, you find a hot shot coordinator. This is a last resort. The Mississippi State football team should be beyond the point where they have to hire someone without head coaching experience, but if for some reason Zac Selmon is unable to do so, you go get a coordinator, one preferably from the offensive side of the football. I do not think people will be receptive to a defensive coach after what we saw from Zach Arnett in 2023.

What I’ve been watching…

Back on The Main Attraction Podcast, Ryan Nelson and I continued discussing the world of television and movies. Up first was the second episode of Invincible on Prime Video. It continues to be. great example of adult animation and you can listen to it by clicking here.

Next was our discussion of the 33rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Marvels. People have opinions of this movie, and we do as well. We liked it, and would like to tell you why, so click here and find out what we had to say about it.

Lastly, we wrapped up our discussion on the Marvel show Loki on Disney Plus. It was truly one of the best TV shows this year, and we would love to have you join us for our discussion by clicking here.

Mississippi State Coaching Search Guide. dark. Next

We won’t know who the next Mississippi State football coach will be next week, but I’m sure we will have more to say about it. So come join me next week as we continue to figure out who will be leading the Bulldogs on the field in 2024.