December 11, 2008

Byrne brings in Mullen as head coach

STARKVILLE, Miss., - After an exhaustive nationwide search that encompassed both the professional and collegiate ranks, Mississippi State director of athletics Greg Byrne found one man that stood out above all the other candidates.

Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen.

Within 30 minutes of the six-plus hour interview that began Tuesday night and ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Byrne knew he had found his man. In fact, Mullen was the only candidate offered the position.

"The search was broad in nature, it was a true national search," Byrne said. "We had a lot of candidates but it became very, very clear as soon as we sat down with Coach Mullen that he would become the next head football coach at Mississippi State University."

So Thursday after 12 days of much speculation and rumor, the deal was made official when Mullen donned a maroon blazer becoming the 32 head football coach in Bulldog history in front over several hundred fans in the Templeton Athletic Academic Center.

"Right away I just want a team that plays with relentless effort," Mullen said. "That's all we are looking for in the first couple of years here. I think if we play with relentless effort the results should take care of themselves. We are going to build it on that right now. Our goal is got get to Atlanta every season. When the kids come back from day one in the offseason conditioning program, that goal is to find a way for us to get to Atlanta. That goal will never change as long as I am the head coach here."

Byrne said he had come to an agreement with Mullen on a four-year contract worth $1.2 million. He also went on to state that he interviewed eight candidates before offering the job to the 36-year old New Hampshire native.

Mullen brings an impressive resume with him to Starkville that includes two national championship appearances, two Southeastern Conference championships and molded a Heisman Trophy winner in Florida quarterback Tim Tebow just to name a few.

Mullen hit the ground running with recruiting before he even arrived on campus. He said he spoke to several recruits and commitments that are down in Mobile, Ala., that are preparing to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic.

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