Sources: Miss. St. to turn to DC Arnett as coach

Mississippi State and defensive coordinator Zach Arnett have agreed to terms to make him the school’s next head football coach, sources told ESPN’s Pete Thamel on Wednesday.

Arnett is expected to receive a four-year contract, which he has not yet signed.

Arnett will replace Mike Leach, the 61-year-old coaching great who died Monday night after complications related to a heart condition.

The decision to hire Arnett so quickly was done to stabilize the program and support the players after Leach’s sudden death. Arnett was hired as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator in January 2020.

The 36-year-old has stayed loyal to Mississippi State despite multiple offers from higher-profile programs the past few years.

“The school wants to give the players a strong leader to help them through the grieving process and give them stability,” a source said. “Zach is the guy for that. Zach embodies MSU and understands it, and he’s going to build on the foundation that Coach Leach set.”

Mississippi State will play in the ReliaQuest Bowl game against Illinois on Jan. 2, with the team deciding to participate Tuesday because “that’s what Coach Leach would want.”

https://sportsloveme.com/nfl/snow-problem-fins-focused-on-bills-not-weather/

Before coming to Starkville, Arnett spent nine seasons as a defensive coach at San Diego State. And before coaching, he played linebacker at the University of New Mexico (2005-08).

Also Wednesday, Mississippi State announced that it will hold a public memorial service honoring the life of Leach on Tuesday at Humphrey Coliseum.

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