PHILADELPHIA (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – After guiding Mississippi State to a Top 16 national ranking and bowl eligibility for a school-record eighth straight season, head coach Dan Mullen has been named one of 16 semifinalists for the Maxwell Football Club’s George Munger College Coach of the Year Award, the organization announced Thursday.
Mullen, who is in his ninth season in Starkville, has the Bulldogs at 7-3 and 3-3 in the difficult SEC West with two regular season games remaining. All three of State’s losses have come against teams in the current top seven of the rankings. MSU is the only team in the nation who has faced three teams in the current top seven.
State entered the year projected to finish near the bottom of the league, but it enters this weekend’s Arkansas contest as the SEC’s fourth-highest ranked team. All seven of the Bulldogs’ victories have come by double-digits, including their largest victory ever over current No. 20 LSU, 37-7, on Sept. 16.
Earlier this season, Mullen surpassed College Football Hall of Famer Allyn McKeen for second in MSU all-time victories. With a 68-45 mark (.602), Mullen owns the highest winning percentage in Starkville since McKeen from 1939-48 (minimum three seasons), and he’s done it while playing the most ranked teams in school history (43). The 45-year-old stands just seven wins away from tying Jackie Sherrill’s school-record win mark. Sherrill was 75-75-2 in 13 years.
The Bulldogs are vying for the fifth eight-win season in the Mullen era. That would tie McKeen for the most ever by an MSU coach.
Bowl games have become the norm under Mullen. Prior to his arrival, the school record for consecutive bowl appearances was three. MSU will head to its eighth straight bowl this season. No other coach in school history has been to more bowl games (seven) and won more bowl games (five) at MSU than Mullen.
Semifinalist voting for the Maxwell Football Club Collegiate Coach of the Year award will begin on Friday, Nov. 17 and close on Monday, Dec. 11. The finalist round will include the top three coaches as selected in the semifinalist round. Finalist voting will open Dec. 12 and run until Dec. 26. The winner will be announced Dec. 27.
Mullen became the first coach in school history to win the honor in 2014, a season that saw the Bulldogs rise to No. 1 for the first time. Mullen and Alabama’s Nick Saban are the only SEC coaches to claim the award since its inception in 2003.
The formal presentation of the George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award will take place at the Maxwell Football Club’s National Awards Gala on Friday, March 9, 2018 at the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.
Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head football coaches, sports information directors and selected national media.