Mississippi State has a fever and the only prescription is more Dan Mullen. Mullen has been given a contract extension that will keep the head coach in place through the 2017-2018 season. Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com was first to report the contract extension.
The school has not commented on the contract extension, likely because it needs to be finalized and approved by the university. Just as there has been no official word from Nebraska on the contract extension for Bo Pelini, this is a standard practice.
Mullen’s contract extension may come as a bit of a surprise to many. Mullen has been attached to the hot seat discussion for a couple of years now it seems, and after going 7-6 last season some seemed to feel the pressure was on for Mullen to make a big statement this season to possibly save his job. In the division Mullen is coaching in, that is clearly easier said than done. Mississippi State is lumped in the same division as the defending SEC champions (Auburn), a team that has won three of the last four BCS national championships (Alabama), a frequent SEC contender in LSU, an emerging force in Texas A&M and an Arkansas program that is down now but probably not for very long. Ole Miss has been blazing on the recruiting trail and developing some young talent as well that make them a tough out for anyone as well. In other words, Mullen is up against a stacked division, and we have not even touched on the other half of the conference.
A closer look at Mullen’s job since taking over the program in 2009 though sheds a much more positive light than he is generally given credit for. Mississippi State recorded a losing season in eight of the ten seasons prior to his being named head coach. Since 2009, Mullen’s first year on the job, the Bulldogs have finished with a winning season every year but his debut season. Mullen has also coached Mississippi State to three bowl victories (in four straight bowl trips).
Mullen may not be the hot coaching name he was just a few years ago, but his overall impact on the state of the Mississippi State program is certainly not to be disputed too harshly.