College football: Mississippi State, coach Dan Mullen agree on four-year extension
STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State Director of Athletics John Cohen announced a four-year contract extension through February 2021 for head football coach Dan Mullen on Monday.
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"I am very thankful to the University and athletic administration for their belief in me," Mullen said. "We have built a special program over the last eight years, creating a culture where winning is expected while achieving that in the toughest division in college football. I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I am truly excited about the direction we are heading as a program. This extension allows my family a long-term future here in Starkville, a place we are proud to call home."
Mullen, who begins his ninth season in 2017, owns the highest winning percentage at MSU since College Football Hall of Famer Allyn McKeen from 1939-49 (.764, minimum three years). With a 61-42 (.692) mark, Mullen stands just four wins shy of tying McKeen for second in Bulldog victories and 12 away from tying Jackie Sherrill's mark.
Mullen is currently the second-longest tenured head coach in the Southeastern Conference and has produced more bowl game victories (five) and bowl appearances (seven straight) than any coach in school history. The Bulldogs are one of five SEC teams to earn a bowl berth every season this decade, and MSU is second in the league in bowl game wins (five) since 2010.
The 2014 national and SEC coach of the year, Mullen has produced three seasons of at least nine victories in the last six years, including the program's first No. 1-ranked team in 2014. There were only four nine-win seasons at State in the 109 years prior to Mullen's arrival. The 44-year-old also owns a 5-3 mark in the Egg Bowl, while MSU's 25 victories since that memorable 2014 season is second in the SEC West.
The Bulldogs have shattered 109 individual and team single-game, single-season and career records in the Mullen era. Player development has also been critical during Mullen's tenure. Nineteen Bulldogs appeared on NFL rosters during the 2016 season, including nine who were key starters. A school-record three Bulldogs reached the NFL Pro Bowl this season, including Mullen's protégé Dak Prescott, who enjoyed one of the greatest rookie seasons by a quarterback in league history.
MSU has been equally impressive in the classroom and the community under Mullen's watch. The Bulldogs produced a school-record 31 student-athletes on the 2016 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, which ranked fifth in the league. MSU football recently succeeded its NCAA Graduation Success Rate all-time high, while the Bulldogs' NCAA Academic Progress Rate of 971 was 12 points better than the national average and in the top tier of the SEC.