Dan Mullen (ESPN Analyst, Former Head Coach) – I mean, there’s no way Mullen returns to Starkville, right…right???. This suggestion will either make Mississippi State fans furious and have them immediately closing the page (which is why I put it last), or will have them ready to return to where they were. For those that don’t know, Dan Mullen was the Head Coach at Mississippi State from 2009-2017, and was very successful in that tenure. Included in that run was the magical 2014 season in which State was ranked No. 1 in the first ever College Football Playoff Rankings after knocking off three straight top 10 opponents in No. 8 LSU, No. 6 Texas A&M, and No. 2 Auburn, and finished 10-3 led by Dak Prescott. Mullen amassed a 69-46 record across nine seasons which included eight straight bowl appearances and five bowl victories. That’s where things go sour though. Following an 8-4 season in 2017, Mullen left Starkville to take over at SEC-foe Florida. Things started off well for Mullen at Florida as they won 10 and 11 games in his first two years. Things declined from there though as they went 8-4 in year three, and then he was fired after a 5-6 start in 2021. In total, Mullen had a 34-15 record at Florida, and he has not coached collegiately since (he had a short tenure at Lake Oconee Academy in Georgia as a volunteer before going to ESPN to be an analyst where he has been since).
Look, I get it. Many Mississippi State fans are still salty with Mullen about him leaving (and the way he left). I probably would be too. However, Mullen is one of greatest coaches in Mississippi State history (second all-time in wins and was SEC Coach of the Year in 2014) and is a strong offensive mind. Mullen also had an interesting quote regarding Mississippi State back in August. The questions about whether this happens will be A. Does Mississippi State feel comfortable “turning back the clock” and trying to re-live the Mullen days instead of moving forward, B. Are the key people in and around the program willing to welcome Mullen back, and C. Does Mullen want to come back?. If all three of those are yes’s, then it could make a lot of sense.