Pittsburgh native Joe Moorhead has been fired after two seasons as head coach at Mississippi State, according to multiple media reports.
Moorhead was 14-12 in two seasons in Starkville, with his tenure ending with a 38-28 loss to Louisville in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30.
“Coach Moorhead was a highly-respected offensive coordinator at Penn State, but as a head coach with the Bulldogs, it’s been lackluster,” a source told Stadium’s Brett McMurphy, who first reported the news. “It could be the strength of the conference or even the expectations, but it clearly wasn’t clicking.”
After an eight-win 2018 season, Moorhead quickly signed a contract extension in May that was slated to pay him $3.2 million annually through 2022.
But Moorhead’s seat had already gotten hot as he led the Bulldogs through an injury-plagued and below-expectations 2019 season. After beating Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl to secure bowl eligibility, he seemed confident he’d remain in Starkville.
“This is my team. This is my school. This is my program,” he said. “You’ll have to drag my yankee ass out of here.”
Off-the-field issues plagued the Bulldogs in the lead up to the Music City Bowl. Quarterback Garrett Schrader missed the game with a broken orbital bone after getting into fight with linebacker Willie Gay.
A Fordham alum, Moorhead was also head coach at his alma mater from 2012-15 and offensive coordinator at Penn State from 2016-17, leading a Lions offense that featured future NFLers Saquon Barkley, Mike Gesicki and Trace McSorley to back-to-back New Years Six bowls.
Moorhead got his coaching career started as a graduate assistant at Pitt in 1998, and also had stops at Georgetown, Akron and Connecticut.