Mississippi State fires Zach Arnett as head coach in 1st season after succeeding the late Mike Leach


Mississippi State fired Zach Arnett on Monday after less than one season as head coach, just under a year since he took over the Bulldogs after the tragic passing of Mike Leach from a heart issue.

Mississippi State announced Arnett's dismissal on its athletics website. He leaves the university with a 5-6 record, including a 4-6 mark this season and the program tied for last in the Southeastern Conference West Division at 1-6.

Senior offensive analyst Greg Knox, who has worked around the SEC for 28 of his 35 years of coaching, will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2023 season. Mississippi State has games remaining against Southern Mississippi and rival Mississippi.

Arnett's firing comes a day after Texas A&M fired head coach Jimbo Elliott.

MSU athletic director Zac Selmon said in a statement that he determined a change in leadership was needed for the football program to move forward and "position it for the highest level of success.” Selmon added that he had the utmost respect for Arnett and appreciated his effort but the on-field results weren't at the expected level.

Selmon also acknowledged the challenge situation Arnett faced last December in taking over the Bulldogs after the death of Leach. Arnett had been defensive coordinator during Leach's two-years-plus tenure at the school and had built it into one of the SEC's toughest defensive units.

“There is no question that he has made a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes during his time here," Selmon said. “We are grateful for his contributions to Mississippi State and wish him the very best both personally and professionally.”


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