STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Mark Hudspeth, a Mississippi native and the former head coach for seven seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette, has been named Mississippi State’s associate head coach and tight ends coach, head coach Joe Moorhead announced on Thursday.
“Mark brings 25 years of experience as both an assistant coach and head coach to our staff,” Moorhead said. “Having devoted much of his life to football in this state, he will do an outstanding job recruiting and developing our players. We are glad to have him back as a Bulldog.”
Hudspeth, a Louisville native, returns to Mississippi State after having great success as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach from 2009-10, including a 2010 campaign that saw the Bulldogs reach the Gator Bowl.
“I am excited to be back in my home state of Mississippi,” Hudspeth said. “I look forward to helping Coach Moorhead realize his vision for our football program. It’s great to be a Bulldog.”
Hudspeth guided Louisiana-Lafayette to unprecedented success, including five New Orleans Bowl appearances during his tenure from 2011-17. The Ragin’ Cajuns won four straight bowl games under his watch and posted four consecutive nine-win seasons.
His first season of 2011 saw the Ragin’ Cajuns reach their first bowl since 1970 after inheriting a team that finished 3-9 a season prior. Louisiana-Lafayette beat San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl in his debut season, starting a string of four consecutive bowl appearances.
The 2013 season saw Hudspeth lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to a share of the Sun Belt Conference championship and another New Orleans Bowl victory. Hudspeth’s success attracted record crowds to Lafayette as the Cajuns paced the Sun Belt Conference in average attendance three times during his tenure.
A total of 47 players were named to the All-Sun Belt Conference team during Hudspeth’s tenure with running back Elijah McGuire being selected as both the league’s Player and Offensive Player of the Year in 2014. Three players - Alonzo Harris (2011), McGuire (2013) and Joe Dillon (2016) – were each named as the league’s Freshman of the Year, with McGuire and Dillon each earning Freshman All-America honors.
Academically, Hudspeth’s team shattered the program record for team GPA in three straight seasons, including this past season.
Prior to being named the 26th head coach in Louisiana-Lafayette history, Hudspeth was instrumental at Mississippi State (2009-10) as passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach. He tutored wide receiver Chad Bumphis for two seasons, and Bumphis would later finish his career as the program’s all-time leader in receiving yards.
After three years as an assistant coach at Delta State (1999-2000) and Navy (2001), Hudspeth took over as head coach at North Alabama and the winning quickly commenced. He guided the Lions to a 66-21 record in seven seasons (2002-08), winning two Gulf South Conference titles and making five appearances in the NCAA Division II Championship, advancing to the semifinals three times (2003, 2005, 2008).
Inheriting a program that had three consecutive losing records, Hudspeth turned things around quickly, helping UNA to a 13-1 record in just his second season (2003). UNA claimed the league title with a perfect 9-0 mark and advanced to the NCAA Championship for the first time in seven years, defeating Southern Arkansas and Carson-Newman before falling at North Dakota in the national semifinals.
For his effort, Hudspeth was named the Gulf South Coach of the Year while also being voted the NCAA Division II Region 2 Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.
The winning didn’t stop there as the Lions went 11-3 and advanced to the NCAA semis in 2005, the first of four straight 10-win campaigns. UNA went 11-1 in 2006, including 8-0 in league play to claim its second Gulf South title, with Hudspeth earning his second coach of the year award while also being selected as the NCAA Division II Region 2 Coach of the Year again. The Lions followed that up with a 10-2 record and an appearance in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals in 2007.
Hudspeth capped off his tenure at North Alabama by guiding the Lions to a 12-2 record in 2008 and making their fourth straight NCAA appearance, falling in the semifinals.
Success came early to Hudspeth at Winston Academy in Louisville as he helped the Patriots to the state title game as a senior in football 1987. He went on to earn all-county honors three times and play in the Mississippi High School All-Star game as a senior. He lettered four seasons at Delta State, working his way up from the scout team to earning a starting job as both a safety (1990) and quarterback (1991).
After graduating from Delta State with a degree in health and education in 1992, Hudspeth began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Central Arkansas, receiving his master’s degree in secondary school administration in 1993. While at UCA, he was part of the coaching staff that guided the squad to the 1992 Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference crown.
Hudspeth earned his first full-time coaching position when he went to Nicholls State, coaching the wide receivers and tight ends in 1994 before switching to running backs in 1995.
Hudspeth returned to his high school alma mater in 1996, leading Winston Academy from a program what produced one win in the previous two seasons to a 25-1 record in his two seasons and the 1997 Mississippi Private School Association Class A state title.
He returned to the collegiate ranks in 1999, serving as offensive coordinator at Delta State for two seasons and helping lead the Statesmen to the 2000 NCAA Division II national title. He moved to Annapolis to serve as offensive coordinator at Navy in 2001 before earning his first collegiate head coaching job at North Alabama the following year.
Hudspeth is married to the former Tyla McConnell and is the father of four sons: Gunner, Captain, Major and Rocky; and one daughter, Carley.
The Mark Hudspeth File
Hometown: Louisville, Miss.
Education: Delta State University, 1992 (B.S. Health & Education); University of Central Arkansas, 1993 (M.S. Secondary School Administration)
Children: Gunner, Carley, Major, Captain, Rocky
Birthday: November 10, 1968
2017-p: Mississippi State (Associate Head Coach/Tight Ends)
2011-17: Louisiana-Lafayette (Head Coach)
2009-10: Mississippi State (Passing Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers)
2002-08: North Alabama (Head Coach)
2001: Navy (Offensive Coordinator)
1999-2000: Delta State (Offensive Coordinator)
1997-98: Winston Academy (Head Coach)
1995: Nicholls State (Running Backs)
1994: Nicholls State (Wide Receivers/Tight Ends)
1992-93: Central Arkansas (Graduate Assistant)
Bowl Games/Playoff Games as a Coach
2016: New Orleans Bowl (Louisiana-Lafayette)
2014: New Orleans Bowl (Louisiana-Lafayette)
2013: New Orleans Bowl (Louisiana-Lafayette)
2012: New Orleans Bowl (Louisiana-Lafayette)
2011: New Orleans Bowl (Louisiana-Lafayette)
2010: Gator Bowl (Mississippi State)
2008: NCAA Division II Semifinals (North Alabama)
2007: NCAA Division II Semifinals (North Alabama)
2006: NCAA Division II Quarterfinals (North Alabama)
2005: NCAA Division II Semifinals (North Alabama)
2003: NCAA Division II Semifinals (North Alabama)