Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Zach Arnett fired, Mississippi State coach candidates: Coaching search, new names by SEC insiders

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Mississippi State coach Zach Arnett took over following the tragic passing of Mike Leach last year, but Arnett was fired last week. He leaves the program with a 5-6 record, including a 4-6 mark this season. Arnett was in the first of a four-year contract that paid $3 million annually, beginning this season as the SEC’s youngest head coach and the first of Hispanic descent in league history. Senior offensive analyst Greg Knox will serve as the interim head coach, with Arnett’s coaching staff remaining through the end of the season.

The Mississippi State coaching search has already begun. Arnett’s firing came the day after a 51-10 loss to Texas A&M in what turned out to be the final game for Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher as well. If you love the Bulldogs, or just want to know if your coach is the next target, be sure to see what the proven team of insiders are saying at Gene’s Page, the 247Sports affiliate that covers Mississippi State.

The staff at Gene’s Page is led by Steve Robertson, who has covered the Bulldogs for 25-plus years and has consistently been the leading insider covering Mississippi State football. Robertson has been a mainstay in the Mississippi State community — breaking the news of both Mike Leach and Dan Mullen’s hiring. He’s written three books: Flim Flam, Stark Villains and Alpha Dawgs, which have all been on the Mississippi best seller’s list.

Robertson and the Gene’s Page staff have collectively put together a list of coaches to watch as the Bulldogs are in the thick of their search. According to Robertson’s sources, Mississippi State has been working behind the scenes for a while knowing a change was imminent.

And right now, Gene’s Page is offering 60% off annual subscriptions*, so now is the time to sign up.

The team at Gene’s Page already has a list out of 18 potential candidates and there are some surprising names on the list. Head to Gene’s Page now to see them all.

Top Mississippi State head coaching candidates 

One name the staff has identified as a potential candidate is Dan Mullen. He led the Bulldogs to seven winning seasons over his nine years and finished with at least four SEC wins in five of those years. He is the second-winningest coach in program history, going 69-46 from 2009-17 before taking the head coaching position with the Florida Gators in 2018. Florida went 21-5 over Mullen’s first two seasons before firing him after going 5-6, including 2-6 in the SEC, in 2021.

When asked about the possibility of returning to Mississippi State, Mullen reportedly said, “Never say never,” as well as saying the school holds a special place in his heart. Mullen, 51, would create an image of immediate confidence back to the program given his previous success at the school and seems to be one of the safer options in the college football coaching pool. Mississippi State was coming off losing seasons in four of five years before hiring Mullen the first time and the Bulldogs went 9-4 in his second season at the school.

Another name on the list is Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell. He has won his first 10 games with Liberty after an outstanding stint at Coastal Carolina, giving him a 40-6 record since 2020. Chadwell turned quarterback Kaidon Salter into one of the top passers at the Group of Five level, so he can help turn around a sluggish Mississippi State offense.

He has some ties to the state of Mississippi, serving as the head coach at Delta State in 2012 before taking the Charleston Southern job. Chadwell made the leap to Coastal Carolina in an interim capacity in 2017 and then on a permanent basis from 2019 to 2022. His name has been tied to multiple coaching searches over the last few years, and this could be his chance to make the Power Five leap. See more candidates at Gene’s Page.

How to get insider Mississippi State coaching search updates 

The rest of the list of 18 names to know includes several other intriguing Group of 5 head coaches, and a shocking current SEC head coach “with deep roots at Mississippi State.” See who it is at Gene’s Page.

Who are the top names in the Mississippi State coaching search as the Bulldogs look to replace Zach Arnett, and what surprising current SEC coach could be on the move? Go to Gene’s Page to see their hot board and more, all from a team of reporters with decades of experience covering the Bulldogs, and find out. And reminder, Gene’s Page is offering 60% off an annual VIP membership as a coaching search special, so subscribe now before it’s too late.

*Terms: This offer is only available for new members who sign up for a Gene’s Page annual subscription. After the first year, subscription will re-bill on an annual basis at the regular rate. reserves the right to alter or cancel this promotion at any time. Please write with any questions you may have.

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