STARKVILLE – Mississippi State may have gotten a bargain in new head coach Joe Moorhead.
The Bulldogs signed Moorhead to a four-year, $11 million contract, which is modest by today’s SEC standards.
Previous MSU coach Dan Mullen made $4.5 million this past season while Moorhead will make $2.6 million in his first year.
“I feel very fortunate to coach a kid’s game and be provided with the salary that I am,” Moorhead said.
Part of Moorhead’s reasoning for agreeing to a smaller salary is to have a bigger budget to build his coaching staff around him.
“As we went through the process of Joe’s contract with him, it’s probably the least amount of time we spent on any subject,” said MSU athletic director John Cohen. “Joe said ‘what you’re offering me is great. Here’s what I want to do, I want to take care of our staff and make sure we have the best football staff in America. That’s what’s important to me’ ”.
Moorhead has several performance incentives within his contract ranging from $50,000 for being named SEC Coach of the Year or reaching the Birmingham or Independence bowls up to $1 million for winning a national championship.
SECURING A STAFF
Moorhead already has three staff openings from coaches leaving with Mullen to Florida.
However, Moorhead isn’t going to rush into making any hasty decisions when it comes to hiring his assistants.
“I could make 10 calls right now and have a staff filled before this press conference ends,” Moorhead said. “But I want to measure twice and cut once. I want to make sure that we’re not just hiring for the sake of getting this thing filled up. I want to make sure we’re getting the right people in here that gives us an opportunity to be successful long term.”
Moorhead may have already made his first hire. Reports surfaced Thursday that Penn State running backs coach and special teams coordinator Charles Huff would be joining him in Starkville.
Huff has been with the Nittany Lions since 2014 and is rated the No. 3 recruiter in the nation by 247Sports.com.
CALLING THE PLAYS
Like Mullen, Moorhead plans on assuming the role of offensive coordinator and play-caller in addition to his duties as head coach.
“I’m going to have a couple of guys that have titles as coordinators but I’m going to run the offense and call plays,” Moorhead said.
Moorhead stated during his introductory press conference on Thursday that no matter which phase of the game the Bulldogs are on – offense, defense or special teams – they would be aggressive.
“We are going to attack,” Moorhead said. “We are not going to be a team that lets the other side of the ball dictate the tempo of the game to us. We are going to dictate what we do.”