Dan Mullen took over the Mississippi State football head coaching position in 2009, looking to be the savior of the Bulldogs. Upon his arrival, the team was a cellar-dweller SEC program who finished with worst record in the conference at 4-8 (2-6).
Mullen, a former offensive coordinator with then-national champion Florida, looked to take over the struggling program and turn them into a competitive force in the southeast. The first season brought struggles as the Bulldogs improved by only one game with a 5-7 (3-5) record.
Since, however, Mississippi State has been a steady, competitive team in the nation’s top conference. In 2010, the Bulldogs saw their most impressive record of the past decade, finishing at 9-4 (4-4). Mullen’s teams would follow that season with a 7-6 (2-6) record in 2011 and an 8-5 (4-4) record in 2012.
Mullen is regarded as one of the top coaches in the SEC and may be the highest paid public worker in the state of Mississippi, which creates an increase of expectations for the program. When he arrived in Starkville, there was optimism surrounding his hire, but expectations for the team itself were much lower based on a history of let downs.
Mississippi State fans experienced years of being kicked around the SEC and had become accustomed to losing. But with the team holding a steady overall record in recent years, perhaps fans are starting to expect more from the coach responsible for their turnaround.
Now that Mullen has had the Bulldogs moving in the right direction for some time, it may be time for him to go full throttle down the highway to success and take a mediocre team into dominance.
Despite impressive overall records, the Bulldogs have struggled in SEC play, never finishing above .500 against conference teams. To become one of the top-tier programs, you must dominate your conference.
Mullen may actually be facing some increased expectations, but it is unlikely he is technically on a “hot seat” just yet. However, if he continues to provide mediocre turnouts while expectations increase, that just may be the situation he faces as time goes on.