CATEGORY: FOC College Football

AUTHOR: PHELPS

DUNN TO STAY MUM ON MISS. ST. DECISION UNTIL TODAY

By Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. Will Joe Lee Dunn be the next defensive coordinator at Mississippi State? Only Dunn knows for sure, and he's not saying until today.

"I'm going to make a decision (today). That's all I can tell you," Dunn said Saturday when contacted at his office in the Frank Broyles Complex at the University of Arkansas, where he is currently serving as defensive coordinator for the Razorbacks.

Dunn, 49, was interviewed by Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill Wednesday in Starkville.

The position came open when Bill Clay resigned following the Bulldogs' 3-8 season. State was ranked last in the SEC in total defense this season and Dunn, whose stunt-oriented schemes produced top-rated defenses at Arkansas, Ole Miss and Memphis, likes a challenge.

"I feel like I can help them be better," Dunn told the Northwest Arkansas Times in an interview Friday. "... I think the situation at MSU probably could help me get a head coaching job somewhere if I could go in there and turn the whole thing around defensive-wise."

Dunn was interim head coach at Ole Miss during the 1994 season and head coach at New Mexico in 1983-86.

Another factor in Dunn's decision could be family. Dunn and his wife, Susie, are both from Columbus, Ga., which is considerably closer to Starkville than Fayetteville.

"Our parents live about five miles apart," Susie Dunn said. "When the girls (Kacey Jayne and Ashley) and I go home it's a 14-hour drive. It takes us two days and we have to stop and spend the night. In Starkville we'd be only five or six hours away."

Susie Dunn said the final deicison would be her husband's.

"We've made a list of all the positives and negatives," she said. "It really doesn't matter to us. I just want him to have fun. We've had fun here. As for the kids and moving, they handle it a lot better than the adults."

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