Just three days after Dan Mullen left the Bulldogs to take the head coaching job at Florida, Mississippi State has hired Penn State OC Joe Moorhead to become the program’s 33rd head coach.
In his first comments as the coach of the Bulldogs, Moorhead thanked the school’s administration, and said he is ready to get to work.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be a Mississippi State Bulldog,” Moorhead said. “I am thrilled to take the reins of an SEC program that has been as successful as this one has the past decade. I look forward to getting to know the young men on our team, hiring a staff and hitting the recruiting trail quickly.My family and I are excited about being a part of the Starkville community. I am grateful to John Cohen and Dr. Mark Keenum for giving me this opportunity, and I am proud to be your coach.”
Moorhead was named the OC of the year in 2016 after arriving at Penn State. During the 2016 campaign, the Nittany Lion offense broke school records for total offense, passing yards, and points scored in a single season. In his two seasons at Penn State, his offense averaged 39.4 points per game. Moorhead was a hot candidate across the country having been named by Sports Illustrated and Yahoo as the #1 rising assistant coach in college football.
While Moorhead enjoyed success as an OC, this won’t be his first head coaching gig. He was the head coach of the Fordham Rams where he led the team in the Bronx to a 38-13 overall record in his three seasons at the helm. Moorhead took over a team that went 1-10 in the year before his arrival and quickly turned the program into a contender. In just his second year with the team, they advanced to the FCS playoffs and finished with a 12-2 overall record.
MSU Athletic Director John Cohen released a statement outlining what made Moorhead the right man for the job.
“During our search, it became unequivocally clear who our next football coach was, and that man was Joe Moorhead,” Cohen said. “Joe is a winner, a man of integrity with a blue-collar work ethic and an ability to motivate others that our student-athletes will gravitate to. His innovative offensive philosophy is a perfect fit for our program and will keep us on a path to competing for championships. I was also impressed with his detailed defensive plan. He will demand excellence on and off the field and maximize the resources we have to continue to be successful in the SEC. We are proud to welcome Joe, his wife Jennifer, his daughter Kyra and sons Mason and Donovan to the Bulldog Family.”
MSU President Mark Keenum echoed his AD’s sentiments and followed up by saying that Moorhead can build upon the success that Mullen had in Starkville.
“Over the last decade, Mississippi State University has built a winning football tradition that has taken our program to unprecedented heights,” Keenum said. “My charge to [Cohen] was to find a dynamic, innovative new head coach for the Bulldogs who could embrace that winning tradition and build on it. In Coach Joe Moorhead, I think we have found that leader.”
The 44-year old Pittsburgh native began his coaching career in 1998 with his hometown Pittsburgh Panthers as a grad assistant. During his career, Moorhead has had stints with Pitt, Akron UConn, and Georgetown.