Wilson Promoted To Defensive Coordinator; Mirando Named WRs Coach

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Photo Courtesy of Mansel Guerry

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen didn’t have to go very far to find a pair of perfect matches to add to the Bulldog coaching staff, as he promoted Chris Wilson to defensive coordinator and Angelo Mirando to coach the wide receivers, the university announced Monday.


Wilson served as the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach in 2010, his first season at Mississippi State. Under his tutelage, the Bulldog defense front improved against the run by an average of nearly 30 yards per game, and rose in the national rankings from 68th in 2009 to 17th this season. The defense also improved in tackles for loss (from 89th to 17th nationally) and sacks (up from 1.33 per game to 2.00).


State’s defensive unit bettered its 2009 opponents’ points-per-game by nearly a touchdown per game from 26.75 last season to 19.85 in 2010.


“Chris is a talented and knowledgeable coach with a wealth of experience, and we intend to build upon what our defense did this past season,” Mullen said. “Chris has a great relationship with our players and he’ll make a seamless transition.”


Prior to his arrival in Starkville, Wilson coached at Oklahoma for five seasons. He coached defensive ends for three years and also served as special teams coordinator. In 2009, Wilson helped mentor a defensive front that finished eighth nationally against the run, allowing only 92 yards per game, and posted the sixth-most sacks in the country. The Sooner defense also finished the season ranked eighth in total defense and seventh in points allowed.


“I’m excited about the opportunity to continue what we’ve started here,” Wilson said. “I’m thankful to Coach Mullen for the opportunity and I know we can build something special here at Mississippi State. There’s still a great deal of improvement to make, and we’re looking forward to hitting the ground running both in recruiting and when we get back to the practice fields.”


Mirando, who played quarterback at Case-Western Reserve before graduating in 2008, spent the previous three seasons, one at Florida and two at Mississippi State, serving as the on-field offensive graduate assistant. He worked with the quarterbacks in 2009 before helping with the receivers in 2010.


“Coach Mullen has been a great mentor to me the past few years and I’m looking forward to continuing to build this program to a championship level,” Mirando said. “We’ve got a great group of young receivers that I’ve enjoyed working with this year and we’ll hit the ground running in the spring to get a whole lot better in 2011.”


Mirando coached the wide receivers during bowl practices leading up to Mississippi State’s 52-14 victory over Michigan in the Progressive Gator Bowl. The Bulldog wideouts, playing without injured Chad Bumphis and Leon Berry, combined for 14 receptions for 191 yards and three scores.


“Angelo has a great knowledge of our offensive system and what we’re trying to accomplish,” Mullen said. “He did a tremendous job during the bowl preparation and I’m confident he’ll do a great job working with our receivers full-time.”


Wilson takes over the coordinator spot following the departure of Manny Diaz, who was announced Wednesday as defensive coordinator at Texas. Mirando replaces former wide receiver coach Mark Hudspeth, who accepted the head coaching job at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in December.


“We’re very thankful for the work that Manny and Mark did during their time with us,” Mullen said. “I’m happy for them and their families, and wish them the very best.


“Obviously it shows the direction our program is headed when universities around the nation are trying to emulate the success we’re building, and will continue to build, at Mississippi State.”


The Bulldogs have one open coaching position yet to fill on the defensive side of the ball, and Mullen has said he will conduct a national search. The head coach also suggested the possibility of hiring a co-coordinator, just as the team had with Diaz and Wilson in 2010.




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