Mississippi State athletics director John Cohen announced Tuesday that football coach Joe Moorhead has agreed to a contract extension. The new deal will re-start Moorhead’s contract for another full four years running through the 2022 season.
In a follow-up release more contract terms were published. The new base salary for 2019 is $3,050,000, compared to the $2,650,000 of his first year. Like the first contract an annual $100,000 is built in, as well as a reward for a bowl appearance and further incentives for conference championships and other titles or coach of the year honors. That first contract was to run through December 2021.
Now Moorhead is contracted for another year and stays on the state of Mississippi-maximum of four years for state employees. In his first year his team met the bowl berth mark as the 2018 Bulldogs went 8-4, 4-4 SEC, and played in the Outback Bowl for the first time. The #18 place in the final College Football Playoff rankings was second only to the 2014 team.
He also became the latest Bulldog coach to win in his first Battle for the Golden Egg, this time with a 35-3 whipping of Ole Miss. The 2018 team was among the Southeastern Conference leaders in rushing yardage and touchdowns, while the defense led the entire NCAA in scoring. He is only the second Bulldog football coach to win as many as eight games in the debut season, and the first since 1939 when legendary Allyn McKeen achieved the feat.
Only Moorhead and Jackie Sherrill coached their first Mississippi State squads to bowl games.
“It’s a privilege to be the head football coach at Mississippi State,” Moorhead said in a provided statement. “I want to thank John, President (Mark) Keenum and this wonderful University for believing in me. My family and I love Starkville. For me, it’s about building a championship program our Bulldog fans can be proud of and helping our players maximize their potential on and off the field, while walking away with a meaningful degree from Mississippi State University. Our team is excited about the season ahead, and I look forward to continuing to elevate our program in everything we do.”
This past year’s Bulldog team set program record for grade point average as well. They set a football team record at State for both fall and spring GPA. As of now 28 of the players off the 2018 roster have earned their Mississippi State degrees.
In his first full recruiting year, Moorhead and staff were able to ink a signing class that was ranked by 247Sports, by ESPN, and by Rivals.com in all their top-25 lists. This, while Moorhead worked through a series of spring departures by assistants and replacing them in time for his second spring camp.
“We are excited about the leadership of Mississippi State football under Coach Moorhead,” Cohen said. “He is a man of integrity, loyalty and humility. His love for his players and our program is evident. He is driven by elevating our program to a championship standard on and off the field. We look forward to watching the continued growth of our football program under his watch.”
Moorhead and Cohen completed most of the Road Dawgs tour stops last week. Out on the road Moorhead maintained the theme of being pleased, on the whole, with how the first year played out; but not at all satisfied. Now after 18 months on the Mississippi State job and a full fall of SEC seasoning he approaches year-two with not just a renewed contract but refreshed energy. “I’m excited. We have great kids, we have a great staff, we have unbelievable leadership. And the best is yet to come here.”