Update: Mississippi State has made its hire of Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead official. The school released a statement Wednesday morning that Moorhead had been hired three days after Dan Mullen left to take the same job with Florida.
"During our search, it became unequivocally clear who our next football coach was and that man was Joe Moorhead," said athletic director John Cohen in a statement. "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."
Moorhead is already reportedly in pursuit of a top-notch defensive coordinator. Football Scoop reports that Moorhead has targeted Michigan DC Don Brown, considered one of the finest defensive minds in the business.
"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."
Only two days after Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen left the program after nine seasons to , the Bulldogs have his successor lined up.
Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead will be MSU's next coach, according to multiple reports, first from Brett McMurphy. There has been no announcement yet from Mississippi State, but McMurphy reports the deal is expected to be completed in the next couple of days.
Moorhead recently finished his second season as Penn State's offensive coordinator. The Nittany Lions ranked second in the Big Ten with 41.6 points per game, surpassing the 37.6 points per game averaged in Moorhead's first season.
Beofre coaching in Happy Valley, Moorhead was the coach of the Fordham Rams out of the FCS from 2012-15, where he compiled a 38-13 record and took the Bronx team to three consecutive berths in the FCS playoffs. He is known for his creative play calling and helped Penn State running back Saquon Barkley become one of the most electrifying offensive weapons in all of college football.
The reported hiring of Moorhead completes a busy but effective couple of days for Mississippi State. Mullen was arguably the program's greatest coach in history with a 69-46 record over nine seasons. Mullen briefly led the Bulldogs to a No. 1 ranking in the College Football Playoff Rankings in 2014. That season, Mississippi State finished 10-3 and made an appearance in the Orange Bowl.
Replacing that type of coach at a place so historically hard to be successful in the SEC could have been a task that at best was daunting and at worst impossible. Yet Mississippi State reportedly gathered a solid list of candidates that included Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables and Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who is also a former Bulldogs assistant.
Moorhead doesn't have deep ties to SEC country, but it's important to note Mullen didn't either when he took over the program. Mullen followed coach Urban Meyer from Bowling Green to Utah and Florida before taking the job in Starkville. Mullen also previously held jobs at Wagner, Columbia, Syracuse and Notre Dame. Moorhead has past coaching experience at Pitt, Georgetown, Akron and UConn.