STARKVILLE, Miss. - When Mississippi State hosts Bowling Green Saturday in a 6:30 p.m. CT showdown on FSN, the campus will be celebrating Homecoming while Dan Mullen and his staff continue what has become a reunion of their own from Mullen’s first full-time coaching job – at Bowling Green.
|GENERAL GAME INFO
When: Saturday, Oct. 12 - 6:30 p.m.
Where: Starkville, MS
Facility: Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field
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Tickets: MSU Athletic Ticket Office (1-888-GO-DAWGS)
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Radio: Mississippi State Bulldog Network
In-Stadium Radio Frequency: 100.9 or 107.9
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Twelve years ago, Mullen was a part of Urban Meyer’s staff at the Ohio school, the launching point of both Mullen and Meyer’s careers.
The two continued to rise in the world of college football, with Meyer now the head coach at Ohio State and Mullen, of course, the head coach of MSU.
Now, Mullen’s staff is reminiscent of the one he got his start with at Bowling Green back in 2001.
Wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales was the receivers coach for the Falcons on that staff, offensive line coach John Hevesy worked with the offensive line at BGSU, as well, and Assistant AD for Football Operations Jon Clark was actually a student working with the team back in those early days.
“Jon Clark is an alum,” Mullen said. “He asked if he’s gonna get the week off. We said, ‘No, but we’re gonna be real careful about what meetings we let you in.’”
In fact, Mullen even met his wife Megan while coaching at Bowling Green as she was a local weekend sports anchor.
So many relationships still going today, including former players and other coaches employed elsewhere, got their start at that small school in Ohio.
“It helped a lot of different people get where they are,” Mullen told reporters.
Earlier this week, Mullen was in his office with Gonzales as the two went over game plans. His wife, at the other end of the office, was talking to a reporter about how she and her husband met.
Mullen and Gonzales couldn’t help getting distracted and looking up old scores and offensive records they set together at Bowling Green.
“We had some good teams, now,” Mullen reminded his wife.
Included in those two seasons was an undefeated record against BCS-conference teams, despite playing in the MAC, something both coaches were happy to point out.
“I learned an awful lot there,” Mullen said. “Met my wife, which changes a lot about who you are. Grew up a lot while I was there, both personally and football-wise. It was a good time, a good experience for me.”
On Saturday, Mullen hosts his former school and his life, while certainly still young, comes full-circle for at least a day.
In barely a decade, he went from wide-eyed quarterbacks coach on his first job, to the head coach of an SEC school.
“You always say, ‘Where will I be in 10 years?’ I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t think I’d be here, the head coach at Mississippi State University.”
And he wouldn’t change a thing.
After Saturday, the Bulldogs are off a week before hosting Kentucky on Thursday, Oct. 24, in a game televised by ESPN.