Thanks to Mississippi State and Joe Moorhead, the spinning of the 2019-20 college coaching carousel could crank up yet again.
According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports, “Mississippi State is exploring firing head coach Joe Moorhead.” Shortly thereafter, SI.com‘s Ross Dellenger reported something very similar.
Both reports stated that the potential firing was centered on an ugly fight between teammates in the run-up to the Music City Bowl. The loss to Louisville in the bowl game was cited by Dellenger as well.
Sources: Mississippi State is exploring firing coach Joe Moorhead. No formal decision has been made. School officials have been discussing Moorhead's future since a spate of off-field issues, including the fight that led to QB Garrett Schraeder missing the Music City Bowl.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 3, 2020
Mississippi State officials have been in deep discussion about coach Joe Moorhead's future since the bowl loss. No decision yet, sources say.
Events of the last month – a fight at practice, ugly bowl loss – have possibly shifted a post-Egg Bowl plan to keep Moorhead.
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) January 3, 2020
The day after Christmas, it was reported that freshman Garrett Shrader, who was supposed to start the bowl game at quarterback, was injured in a post-practice scuffle with a defensive teammate. The altercation was preceded by an in-practice altercation during a contact drill.
Shrader suffered some orbital bone damage as a result of the incident.
Prior to that situation, there had been speculation that Moorhead could be two-and-done with the Bulldogs, although a lengthy meeting in late November confirmed that all of the parties involved are satisfied with the current direction of the football program. If Moorhead were to be fired without cause, it would cost the university in the neighborhood of $2 million in the form of a buyout.
In two years since replacing Dan Mullen, Moorhead, who had previously been connected to the opening at Rutgers, has gone 14-12 overall and 7-9 in SEC play. This season, those marks are 6-7 and 3-5. In Mullen’s last two seasons at MSU before leaving to take the Florida job in November of 2017, the Bulldogs went 14-11.