SEC INSIDER

Mississippi State hires Penn State OC Moorhead

Sports Xchange

November 29, 2017 at 12:28 pm.

Sep 9, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joe Moorhead (center) looks on from the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Pitt 33-14. Photo Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 9, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joe Moorhead (center) looks on from the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Pitt 33-14. Photo Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead was officially named the new head coach at Mississippi State, the university announced Wednesday.

Moorhead, who helped guide the Nittany Lions’ high-powered offense the past two seasons, becomes Mississippi State’s 33rd head football coach.

Athletic director John Cohen made the announcement Wednesday morning after news leaked out Tuesday night.

“During our search, it became unequivocally clear who our next football coach was and that man was Joe Moorhead,” Cohen said in a statement. “Joe is a winner, a man of integrity with a blue-collar work ethic and an ability to motivate others that our student-athletes will gravitate to. His innovative offensive philosophy is a perfect fit for our program and will keep us on a path to competing for championships. … He will demand excellence on and off the field and maximize the resources we have to continue to be successful in the SEC.”

Moorhead, 44, will be formally introduced on Thursday to replace Dan Mullen, who was hired as Florida’s new head coach on Sunday. Mullen guided Mississippi State to a 69-46 record and eight straight bowl games in nine seasons.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be a Mississippi State Bulldog,” Moorhead said in his statement. “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.”0

Moorhead spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on head coach James Franklin’s staff at Penn State. Moorhead transformed the Nittany Lions offensively, helping the team to a combined 21-5 record, a 17-3 mark in the Big Ten regular season and the 2016 Big Ten championship.

Moorhead was responsible for one of the most prolific offenses in the country over the past two seasons. Penn State (10-2) averaged 41.6 points per game this season, seventh highest in the nation.

Moorhead’s only head-coaching experience was at Fordham, his alma mater, where he inherited a team that went 1-10 in 2012. Moorhead posted a winning record in each of his four seasons and Fordham made the FCS playoffs in each of his last three, leading to a 38-13 record.

A native of Pittsburgh, Moorhead started his coaching career at Pittsburgh in 1998. He was an assistant and later offensive coordinator at Georgetown from 2000-03 and then was an assistant and later offensive coordinator at Akron from 2004-08. He joined Connecticut in 2009 as offensive coordinator.

“We couldn’t be happier for Joe Moorhead and his family,” Penn State’s Franklin said. “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.”