This Thursday – Dec. 10 – will mark the one-year anniversary of Dan Mullen's hiring as Mississippi State's head football coach. It's turned out, so far, to be a pretty good hire by AD Greg Byrne, who took a few minutes this morning to talk with me about Mullen and the future of the football program.
First off, Byrne is eager to get Mullen's contract back to four years, "hopefully very soon." That's the maximum allowed for college coaches in Mississippi, and a four-year deal is what Mullen signed when he came to Starkville. As for a bump in Mullen's pay – he makes $1.2 million per year – Byrne said, "We'll deal with that when it's appropriate."
During their end-of-year meeting last week, Mullen and Byrne discussed several things, including possible renovation and expansion of Davis Wade Stadium, which has a capacity of 55,082 but squeezed in more than that in each of the last three home games.
"Dan and I are constantly talking about what the next steps are for the program, all aspects of it," Byrne said. "I think that's part of your responsibility, with all of your coaches, to have those conversations on a regular basis and not ever sit there idly waiting for things to happen."
Byrne said all that has been discussed is renovating the west side of the stadium and then looking at "possibilities" in the north end zone, the end opposite the giant video board. "It's very early, and we're just beginning the conversations right now. It's a long process," he said.
Byrne didn't offer any other specifics of the meeting, which he called "a recap" of the past year. "You just kind of go over all the details of the past year, not so much from a football standpoint, but everything surrounding it. You do talk a little football. You talk about academics, you talk about discipline, you talk about facilities, and all those different things, budget."
There have been some immediate benefits of Mullen's success (sure, MSU went 5-7, but it was a tough out and beat Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl). There were the sellouts, and a couple of other things that Byrne noted.
"One, from a momentum standpoint, he's brought a lot of that to us. And he's brought an attitude of we don't need to take a back seat to anybody."
More from Byrne later in the week.