It’s official, and it didn’t take long.
According to several reports, Mississippi State will name Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead as its next head coach during a press conference on Thursday.
Sources: Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead will become next coach at Mississippi State. Deal expected to be completed in next few days. https://t.co/fcxi8GKyeI
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) November 29, 2017
Sports are loaded with statistics these days, but in the end, there is only one that matters: How many points do you score? And Moorhead’s offenses scored points at a record clip for the Nittany Lions. In 2015, in Penn State’s last season with John Donovan running the offense, it ranked 101st in the nation in points per game. With Moorhead running the show, the Nittany Lions ranked 21st in 2016 and are at No. 7 right now in 2017. Moorhead was also beloved by his players at Penn State, and he had a great relationship with his fellow coaches and the media.
The move has been seen as a positive hire by the national media, and there’s plenty to agree with there. When you talk about the checklist of traits programs want in a head coach, Moorhead checks the boxes.
This move for Moorhead certainly won’t come as a surprise to Penn State head coach James Franklin, and the attention around the program will almost certainly turn toward who Moorhead’s replacement will be. Franklin acted rather quickly to hire Moorhead after he fired Donovan two years ago today. Penn State officially named Moorhead offensive coordinator on Dec. 12. Doesn’t mean they’ll work that quickly again, but it’s the template for how Franklin has operated in the past.
We’ll have more on this story throughout the day as it continues to develop…
UPDATE, 11:30: Moorhead’s hiring was officially announced by Mississippi State a few minutes ago.
Here is Moorhead’s statement: “It’s a tremendous honor to be a Mississippi State Bulldog. I am thrilled to take the reins of an SEC program that has been as successful as this one has the past decade. I look forward to getting to know the young men on our team, hiring a staff and hitting the recruiting trail quickly. My family and I are excited about being a part of the Starkville community. I am grateful to John Cohen and Dr. Mark Keenum for giving me this opportunity, and I am proud to be your coach.”
Also, classy move by James Franklin, who also added a statement in Mississippi State’s announcement:
“We couldn’t be happier for Joe Moorhead and his family. This is a tremendous opportunity for him to return to being a head coach and continue to move forward in his career. We are so appreciative of everything that he has done for Penn State Football in his two years. Joe’s combination of leadership, X’s and O’s, and, most importantly, positive attitude brought the best out of our very talented offensive student-athletes. He has been a great mentor and coach to our student-athletes and friend to me and our staff. We wish Joe nothing but success at Mississippi State.”