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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Zach Arnett is out: Mississippi State begins hunt for new head coach

Zach+Arnett+was+relieved+of+his+position+as+the+head+coach+of+Mississippi+State+Universitys+football+team.
Brooks Surber | The Reflector

Zach Arnett was relieved of his position as the head coach of Mississippi State University’s football team.

After less than a season at the helm, Zach Arnett has been relieved of his position as head football coach of Mississippi State University, as announced by the university this morning.
This decision came just two days after the Bulldogs’ 51-10 defeat at Texas A&M Saturday night — a game that coincidentally would result in the firing of Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher despite the outcome.
MSU athletic director Zac Selmon elaborated on the tough decision to relieve Arnett from his position.
“As part of my thorough and continued evaluation, I have determined that a change in leadership is necessary to move our football program forward and position it for the highest level of success,” Selmon said. “I have the utmost respect for Zach Arnett and am incredibly appreciative of the effort he put forth in leading our football program. However, the progress and on-field results have not been of the standard required for Mississippi State to achieve the level of success we need and expect.”
Arnett started as the defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs before being promoted to the head coach position following the death of Mike Leach in December 2022.
After leading the Bulldogs to a win over Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl, Arnett signed a four-year contract to become the Bulldogs’ permanent head coach. At 37 years old, Arnett was the youngest active head coach in the SEC.
In just 10 games as the head coach this season, Arnett and the Bulldogs posted a 4-6 overall record, including a 1-6 record in SEC play. This Bulldogs’ season has been plagued by poor offensive output and injuries to key starters, including quarterback Will Rogers who has missed the last four games with a shoulder injury.
With Arnett out, senior offensive analyst Greg Knox will serve as the interim coach for the remainder of the season. Knox previously served as the interim coach for the Bulldogs in 2017 after Dan Mullen left to accept the head coaching job at Florida.
“We have two games coming up in the next ten days,” Knox said in a press conference this week. “We’re gonna try to win the state title.”
MSU president Mark Keenum said that the new coaching search will begin immediately on a national scope.
“I want to sincerely thank Zach Arnett for his hard work and service to the university and our football program,” Keenum said. “I will be forever grateful to Zach for how he stepped up after the untimely death of head coach Mike Leach. We asked him in those difficult hours to lead our team, protect our Top 25 recruiting class and take us to a ReliaQuest Bowl victory over Illinois. Zach accomplished those things, and our fans should respect and appreciate him for that tremendous service to MSU. All of us at Mississippi State wish Zach and his wonderful family the very best. I know that he will go on to enjoy an outstanding career in coaching.”
The Bulldogs’ first game without Arnett will be this Saturday when they host Southern Miss in Starkville at 11 a.m. The game will be aired on SEC Network+.

About the Contributor
Colin James, Staff Writer
Colin James is a senior communication major. Colin is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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Zach Arnett is out: Mississippi State begins hunt for new head coach