Mississippi State announces change in football leadership


Starkville – Mississippi State athletics director Zach Salmon made the announcement Monday Zach Arnett He was relieved of his duties as head football coach effective immediately.

Salmon will hold a news conference at noon on Monday.

A national search is underway to determine the Bulldogs’ next head football coach. MSU senior offensive analyst Greg Knoxwho has 35 years of coaching experience including 28 in the Southeastern Conference, will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2023 season. Knox is in his second stint at MSU and previously served as interim head coach for the Bulldogs during the 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl, where he led Team to win 31-27 over Louisville.

“As part of my comprehensive and ongoing evaluation, I have determined that a change in leadership is necessary to move our football program forward and place it at the highest level of success,” Salmon said. “I have the utmost respect for Zach Arnett I am incredibly appreciative of the efforts he has put into leading our football program. However, the progress and on-field results were not at the level required for Mississippi State to achieve the level of success we need and expect.

“Zach faced a challenging and unprecedented situation last December. He provided the football program with leadership and stability that it desperately needed during a tragic time. There is no doubt that he made a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes during his time here. We are grateful For his contributions to Mississippi State and we wish him the best both personally and professionally.

“Starkville is a special place with great people. Our football program is an NFL factory in an unparalleled recruiting footprint and has previously shown it can compete at the highest level in the SEC. With Mississippi State’s history, tradition, loyal fans, base and facilities , while competing in the best conference in the country, I firmly believe we will attract someone who will bring a winning culture on and off the field and lead our program to new heights in today’s era of college football.

Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum, Salmon said he would actively participate in the search. “When Zach Salmon was hired after Coach Leach passed away, one of the traits he reflected was the ability to identify talent and recruit it effectively,” Keenum said. “I have every confidence that Zach will move quickly to identify a new leader for our football program who will energize our team, students and our loyal and passionate fan base.

“I want to sincerely thank you Zach Arnett For his hard work and service to the university and our football program. I will forever be grateful to Zach for the way he stepped up after the sudden passing of head coach Mike Leach. We asked him in those difficult hours to lead our team, protect our top 25 recruiting class, and take us to a ReliaQuest Bowl win over Illinois. Zach accomplished those things, and our fans should respect and appreciate him for his tremendous service to MSU. All of us in Mississippi wish Zach and his wonderful family the best. “I know he will continue to enjoy a fantastic coaching career.”

Arnett was named the Bulldogs’ 35th head football coach on December 15, 2022, following the tragic death of then-head coach Mike Leach. He led the Bulldogs to a 19-10 win over Illinois on January 2, 2023 in the ReliaQuest Bowl. The Bulldogs had a 5-6 record during Arnett’s tenure including a 4-6 record this season.

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