Mississippi Stated waited until the calendar turned over to 2020 before firing Joe Moorhead. Now they have to try and hire a new coach for next season much later than most schools do. Here are 5 potential head coaching candidates for Mississippi State. (odds are from SportsLine and 247sports.com)
1. Gene Chizik +300
Chizik is the former head coach for Auburn when they won the National Championship following the 2010 season. He went 33-19 at Auburn, but was fired after a 3-9 season in 2012. Before his time at Auburn, he had just five wins at Iowa State in two seasons. Following his stint at Auburn, he was a defensive coordinator at North Carolina along with being a member of the media.
There are a few reasons why Chizik is the current favorite for the job. First, Billy Napier, the head coach of Louisiana, turned them down already. Second, Chizik doesn’t already have a coaching job at the moment. He also has experience in the SEC. Hiring someone this late in the season will leave the best options off the table, so Chizik may be the best of what is left.
2. Joe Judge +500
Judge is the special teams coordinator with the New England Patriots. He played at Mississippi State and has experience there and at Alabama as an assistant. His first pro job was with the Patriots in 2012 and he has been with the team ever since.
He is an interesting candidate because he is a graduate of Mississippi State. Judge is currently helping the Patriots with a playoff run, but could be lured back to Starkville to help his former program in their time of need. Judge would be a young head coach at just 37 years old, but could bring some energy to the program.
3. Mike Leach +1200
If Mississippi State really wants their program to be turned around relatively quickly, they should look at Mike Leach. The air raid aficionado has a 139-90 record in 18 seasons as a head coach with Texas Tech and Washington State. He has only missed a bowl game three times over those 18 seasons. He has experience in the SEC, as he was an offensive coordinator at Kentucky.
Mississippi State may not be able to get Leach to accept the job because they have a bad recruiting class and that would hurt his chances of rebuilding. They might have to dig deep into their pockets to afford him, but if they can do that, and convince him, Leach can make the most of the situation.
4. Bill Clark +900
Bill Clark has done one of the best jobs of any coach in the country over the last few seasons. He started in 2014 with UAB and posted a 6-6 record. They disbanded the football program after the season. When they brought football back in 2017, Clark remained in charge. Despite figuring out how to put a roster together after such a tough situation, Clark has put together 28 wins in three seasons.
The Bulldogs would also have to persuade Clark to come coach at their program at such a weird point in time. If anyone can handle odd situations, it is Clark. He has experience recruiting in the south at UAB and could fix the program if given a few years.
5. Willie Fritz +850
Tulane’s head coach has had success over his six years in charge of college programs. He has coached at Georgia Southern as well, and has posted a 40-34 career record. Fritz has won a bowl game at both programs and is a candidate to get bigger jobs in the next few seasons.
Fritz has had to win at two programs that don’t have a lot of funding and he has been successful. Mississippi State would be a good fit because he has had success in the south and they could give him time to build a program.