Mississippi State has announced that head coach Joe Moorhead has been relieved of his duties as the Bulldogs head coach.
“In consultation with President Mark Keenum and after a thorough review and evaluation of all aspects of our football program, I have decided that a change in leadership is in the best interest of our team and university,” Cohen said. “I want to thank Coach Moorhead for the hard work he has done with our football program. I wish Joe and his family success in the future.”
“It is clear the time has come to change the leadership of our football program,” Keenum said. “Coach Moorhead is a good man, and I have nothing but respect for him. I sincerely wish the very best for him and his wonderful family.”
Moorhead, who was hired on November 28, 2017, had a 14-12 overall record and 7-9 SEC record as head coach. Moorhead was named the head football coach at Fordham University on December 16, 2011, where he took the Rams from 1-10 overall in 2011 to 6-5 overall in 2012. He served as an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for Penn State under James Franklin from 2016-2017.
Moorhead’s overall record as a head coach sits at 52-25 (FCS record included).
Moorhead was 0-2 in bowl games with Mississippi State. The Bulldogs were defeated, 27-22, by Iowa in 2018, and by Louisville, 38-28, in the Music City Bowl recently.
Cohen announced that a national search to identify the Bulldogs’ next head football coach is underway and that associate head coach Tony Hughes will serve as interim head coach.
“We look forward to finding an outstanding leader both on and off the field who connects with our Bulldog student-athletes, coaches and fans to the fullest,” Cohen said.
“Director of Athletics John Cohen will be working to find a new head football coach who will demonstrably reflect our shared expectations for a consistently competitive football team that displays discipline, pride, and preparation in all facets of the program,” Keenum added.
Cohen will hold a noon CT press conference Friday. It will broadcast live on SEC Network and streamed live on SEC Network+ via the ESPN app, on @HailState Twitter and on MSU Athletics’ official Facebook page.
Early names speculated as being considered as the replacement for Moorhead include ULL’s Billy Napier, who has spent time coaching under Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney, and Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. If MSU intends to consider Napier, officials there will likely have to wait until he finishes ULL’s bowl game Monday. Grantham was previously the defensive coordinator at MSU under Dan Mullen and led a strong defense his one year at the university. He also has NFL experience.
MSU has not confirmed any names on its list of potential candidates.