By BRAD LOCKE / NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Winning games and going to bowls means more money for Dan Mullen.
Mississippi State’s second-year coach has a contract that pays him $1.2 million annually and is loaded with incentives. For his success in the 2010 season, Mullen will earn extra dough, although how much won’t be made public by MSU because it comes from private money.
“He’s going to have fairly significant bonuses this year,” athletics director Scott Stricklin said. “Which is good; I like that. I think it’s healthy to have good incentives built into your contract.”
MSU finished the regular season 8-4 overall, 4-4 in SEC play, and knocked off rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl on Saturday, 31-23. The Bulldogs now await their bowl game destination, with the Chick-fil-A Bowl (in Atlanta) or Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla.) the most likely frontrunners.
Mullen is 2-0 against Ole Miss, making him the first MSU coach since Allyn McKeen in 1939-40 to win his first two Egg Bowls.
Naturally, Mullen’s name has surfaced in connection with several job openings. On Monday, he told Matt Wyatt on the syndicated radio show “First Call” that he has not been contacted by any schools regarding an opening.
When asked if Mullen and/or his assistants would get a raise, Stricklin said, “I’ll sit down with Dan and talk about that kind of stuff and get his input. … Some of that’s market-driven, some of that’s based on performance.”
Stricklin did say that he wants to extend Mullen’s contract back to the four-year maximum allowed by the state. His contract currently runs through Dec. 10, 2013.
Stricklin said he thinks it’s good to “be as aggressive as you can be, financially and every other way,” when it comes to retaining a coach, but he doesn’t think money is the key issue in keeping the 38-year-old Mullen around.
“I’m not someone who thinks that finances are ever going to be a part of a decision on whether a coach stays or not,” Stricklin said. “I think we’ve got a lot to offer as a university, and we’ve got access to talent – we’re in the best league in the country. We have great facilities, we’re in the process of making them better. We’ve got great support for our coaches and student-athletes.
“I don’t know if there’s ever been a coach leave Mississippi State because they weren’t being paid enough, and I doubt there ever will be.”
Bumphis out for bowl
– Sophomore receiver Chad Bumphis has suffered a broken collarbone, X-rays revealed Monday, and he will not be available for whatever bowl game MSU plays in.
Bumphis suffered the injury while making a diving 44-yard catch against Ole Miss, his only catch of the game.
The Tupelo native leads the Bulldogs in receiving with 44 catches for 634 yards and five touchdowns.
It’s a big loss for a receiving corps already depleted by injury. Senior receiver Leon Berry, who dislocated his ankle on Oct. 9 at Houston, is listed as questionable for the bowl game, while junior tight end Marcus Green, who had knee surgery on Oct. 7, is out.
Awaiting cowbell decision
– There’s little doubt MSU will be fined by the SEC for violating its updated artificial noisemaker policy, but how much and when isn’t known.
Stricklin said earlier this fall that the SEC told him the school was in violation during its first two SEC home games, but he thought the fans did a much better job of complying the last two games (the fines are only applicable to league home games).
“The amount of financial penalties for MSU or any other school for noise violations during the year will be announced after the season, possibly well after bowl games are completed,” SEC spokesman Chuck Dunlap said. “It will be June in Destin before we know where the rule will stand for the 2011 season.”
Schools found in violation of the policy will be fined $5,000 for the first offense, $25,000 for the second, and $50,000 for every offense beyond that. MSU could be fined a maximum of $130,000 this year.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.