STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen announced Sunday the hiring of Mark Hudspeth as an assistant coach, pending approval by the Board of Trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning.
“We’re thrilled to add another coach that has won a national championship and will bring that winning attitude to Mississippi State,” Mullen said. “The remarkable offensive numbers that his teams put up at North Alabama speak for themselves, and his strong ties to the state of Mississippi make him a perfect fit.”
Hudspeth comes to Mississippi State from North Alabama, where he spent the past seven seasons as the head football coach. Hudspeth led the Lions to a 66-21 record, with a pair of Gulf South Conference championships (2003 and 2007) and five NCAA playoff appearances (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008).
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to coach at Mississippi State and with Coach Mullen,” Hudspeth said. “I couldn’t be at a better place in the country or with a better head coach, and I’m thankful for this opportunity.”
This past season, Hudspeth led UNA to its fourth-consecutive 10-win season, posting a 12-2 record and a berth in the NCAA Division II semifinals. The Lions led the Gulf South Conference and ranked sixth nationally, scoring 41.3 points per game.
In 2007, Hudspeth led the Lions to a 10-2 record and reached the national quarterfinals. UNA has advanced to at least the quarterfinals of the national tournament each of the past four seasons.
With a No. 6 ranking in the final 2007 Division II poll, Hudspeth has seen his teams rank in the top six in the final Division II rankings four times in the last five years, finishing fifth in 2003, fourth in 2005 and sixth in 2006 and 2007. The final poll for 2008 will be released Monday, and the Lions are again expected to be among the top six teams.
In 2006 the Lions had an 11-1 record, won a GSC title and a spot in the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs. Hudspeth was selected Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year for the second time by his peers and was also selected Region 2 Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.
In 2005, Hudspeth led a UNA squad that went 11-3 and reached the semifinals of the Division II playoffs for the second time in three years. Along the way the Lions broke 44 school and six Gulf South Conference records, with four Lions earning All-American honors. Lion receiver Anthony Merritt was also a national finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy and Lion offensive lineman Lance Ancar won the Rimington Trophy as the top center in Division II.
In just his second season as a collegiate head coach in 2003, Hudspeth fashioned one of the most dramatic turnarounds in NCAA Division II football history and led UNA within one game of playing for the national championship. Hudspeth became the seventh head football coach in UNA history in 2002 and inherited a program that had won three previous national championships and had been the winningest school in the state of Alabama in the 1980s and 1990s, but was riding a three-year losing streak.
The Lions went 4-7 in Hudspeth's first season, then posted a 13-1 record and advanced to the NCAA Division II semifinals in 2003. Hudspeth's 2003 Lions won the school's seventh Gulf South Conference championship and became the first team in school history to win 11 regular-season games. For his efforts, Hudspeth was named GSC Coach of the Year in just his second season as a collegiate head coach. He was also selected NCAA Division II Region 2 Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association and was named National Coach of the Year by American Football Quarterly, Football Gazette and by CollegeSportsReport.com.
The Lions also had a school-record 13 players selected for the All-Gulf South Conference team, five players received All-American honors and and Lion quarterback Will Hall won the Harlon Hill Trophy as NCAA Division II Player of the Year. In 2003 the Lions broke 37 school records, three Gulf South Conference records and two NCAA Division II National records.
Prior to his stint at North Alabama, Hudspeth served as the offensive coordinator at the United States Naval Academy in 2001.
Hudspeth was the offensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach at Delta State University from 1999-2000. He helped lead the Statesmen to a Gulf South Conference Championship as well as an NCAA Division II National Championship in 2000. His offense broke 21 school records, 12 Gulf South Conference records, and six NCAA Division II records that year. The offense was led by Conerly Trophy winner Josh Bright.
In 1998-99, he was the defensive backs coach and the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Central Arkansas.
Hudspeth served as the head coach at Winston Academy in Louisville, Miss., from 1996 to 1998. He led Winston Academy to a 25-1 record over two seasons including an undefeated record in the regular season (20-0). In 1997 the Patriots won the state championship with a perfect 14-0 record and his team led the state in scoring that year. Following the season, Hudspeth was named Mississippi Coach of the Year.
In 1994-95 Hudspeth served as the wide receivers/tight ends coach and then the running backs coach at Nicholls State University.
Hudspeth was a graduate assistant coach at the University of Central Arkansas from 1992-93. He was the wide receivers and quarterbacks coach and served as assistant strength coach. He helped lead the Bears to an Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference Championship with a 9-2-1 record and a berth in the semifinals of the NAIA playoffs.
He is married to the former Tyla McConnell, and has one son, Gunner, and one daughter, Carley.
MARK HUDSPETH BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Four-year letterman at Delta State University from 1987-91. He was the starting free safety in 1990 and led the team in interceptions. In 1991 he was the starting quarterback.
Master of Science in Education – Central Arkansas, 1993
Bachelor of Science in Education – Delta State University, 1992
Born on November 10, 1968 in Montgomery, Ala.