Mississippi State announced on Thursday that DC Zach Arnett has been elevated to head coach, following the tragic passing of Mike Leach. Arnett has been in Starkville for the last three seasons after spending the previous nine years on staff at San Diego State.
“Our football program has dealt with a stunning blow at the untimely passing of Coach Mike Leach,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said in the release. “It is imperative that we bring stability and continuity to our team and our coaching staff as we move forward from this tragic event. I have tremendous confidence in Zach Arnett’s leadership and believe he is uniquely positioned to continue the progress Coach Leach brought to our program. He brings great drive and intensity to the task.”
The New Mexico-native came to MSU in 2020 shortly after he had accepted the DC role at Syracuse. Inheriting one of the worst performing defenses in the SEC, Arnett’s units have shown immense improvement in both yardage and scoring allowed per game. He was courted to be the DC at bigger name programs in the last couple years but ultimately decided to stick with Leach and the Bulldogs.
“I’m honored that [AD] Bracky Brett and Dr. Keenum have the faith in me to lead our program,” Arnett said. “This is an extremely challenging time for both me and everyone associated with Mississippi State football. No one can ever replace Coach Leach and the impact he had on MSU and all of college football. This team is full of strong, resilient young men and we are committed to continuing to build on the foundation Coach Leach laid and continue to honor his legacy.”
Arnett’s contract is four years at $3 million annually plus performance incentives. His first game at the helm will be on January 2nd, when the Bulldogs play Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa.
credit to Mississippi State Athletics for the image