Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has cashed in on one of the best seasons in school history with a contract extension and raise that will pay him an average of $4.275 million per year.
Mullen guided the Bulldogs to their first 10-win regular season in school history last season as well as their first No. 1 ranking. They spent five weeks as the top team in the polls and were also ranked No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff rankings in October.
Mullen will make $4 million during the 2015 season, which will be his seventh in Starkville. His new deal runs through the 2018 season and includes built-in raises each year.
"It's a privilege to represent our university, our program and our fans here at Mississippi State," said Mullen, who was named the 2014 Maxwell National Coach of the Year. "I appreciate (athletic director) Scott Stricklin and our administration who have given us the tools and resources to be successful and develop Bulldog football into a national brand over the last six years.
"We spent five weeks ranked No. 1 last season for the first time, but we have only scratched this surface on what we can accomplish here. We have created a winning culture both on and off the field and built a program that has sustained success in the nation's toughest conference. I've always said we are going to win a championship here, and I firmly believe that."
Mullen becomes the ninth different SEC head football coach to hit the $4 million mark. Under his old deal, he earned $3 million annually.
With a 46-31 (.597) career record, Mullen owns the highest winning percentage at Mississippi State since Allyn McKeen from 1939 to '48 (.764). Mullen has won more bowl games than any coach in school history (three), and he's led the Bulldogs to a school-record five consecutive bowl appearances. Mississippi State lost to Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl this season.
"Dan has done a phenomenal job in leading our football team the past six years, and we're happy to be in a position to reward his efforts while making sure he'll be able to continue building a championship program for Mississippi State," said Stricklin, who announced Mullen's new deal Thursday night at an alumni function. "Under Dan's guidance, Bulldog football has achieved a level of consistent success unparalleled in our history, during which time we've been ranked No. 1 in the nation and appeared in elite bowl games. We're proud Dan is our coach."
Mullen, the offensive coordinator at Florida under Urban Meyer before taking the Mississippi State job, is working on five straight winning seasons in Starkville. Before he arrived in 2009, the Bulldogs had suffered through seven losing seasons in the previous eight years.
Mississippi State has been equally impressive in the classroom on Mullen's watch. In the fall 2014 semester, the team's 2.76 grade point average was the program's highest ever, while 19 of the 21 seniors earned their undergraduate degrees. A total of 110 football student-athletes have been recognized on the SEC Academic Honor Roll since 2009.