By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has filled one of his coaching vacancies but is now dealing with another.
The Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator job was vacated late Tuesday as Les Koenning accepted the wide receivers coaching position on the new staff at his alma mater, Texas.
Earlier in the day, Mullen hired former Ohio State assistant director of football strength and conditioning Rick Court to replace Matt Balis, who left last week to take the same position at Connecticut.
Koenning had been MSU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the past five seasons. During that span, he helped guide the Bulldogs’ offense to three of the top five seasons statistically in school history.
In 2013, State averaged 434.4 yards per game, shattering the previous record of 422 set in 1982. The Bulldogs’ top four leaders in passing percentage – Tyson Lee, Tyler Russell, Chris Relf and Dak Prescott – were all produced under Koenning’s tutelage
The past five years were Koenning’s second stint in Starkville, having previously served as running backs and wide receivers coach for MSU from 1986-89.
Koenning has also served as offensive coordinator at South Alabama (2008-09), Texas A&M (2003-07), Alabama (2001-02), Houston (1999) and Duke (1998).
The 54-year old native of Houston, Texas, played wide receiver for the Longhorns from 1977-80 and spent time in Austin as a graduate assistant from 1981-83. Koenning received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Texas.
Koenning’s hire completes Charlie Strong’s staff at Texas. His departure leaves Mullen with just tight ends coach Scott Sallach, offensive line coach John Hevesy and safeties coach Tony Hughes as the remaining members from his initial staff.
Defensive line coach David Turner was a member of Mullen’s first staff but returned last season after a three-year stint at Kentucky.
New strength coach
The 36-year-old Court comes to Starkville with 13 years of experience and has spent the past two with the Buckeyes under Urban Meyer.
Court has also been part of the strength staffs at San Diego State, Toledo and Bowling Green as well as interning with the Detroit Tigers. Court and Mullen were both on the Falcons’ staff together in 2002.
The Grosse Point Woods, Mich., native was a two-year letter winner as a catcher on the Michigan State baseball team, where he also worked with the Spartans strength and conditioning staff. In 2001, he served as the senior team captain for the baseball team. Court also played baseball at Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College.
Court received his master’s degree in sports administration from Eastern Kentucky in 2003.