Early Wednesday afternoon, the Mississippi State University Athletics announced the hiring of Zach Arnett as defensive coordinator. Arnett is joining the marauding pirates and screaming fighter planes of Mike Leach’s air-raiding football program.
Former defensive coach at San Diego State University and Syracuse University, Arnett fills the shoes of former MSU defensive coordinator Bob Shoop. Head coach Mike Leach said he was excited to welcome Arnett.
“Zach is one of the brightest defensive coaches in all of college football,” Leach said. “Having been mentored by Rocky Long during his successful time at San Diego State, Zach understands what it takes to build and run an elite defense. We are excited to welcome Zach, Emily, Case and Collins to Starkville.”
Arnett played linebacker at the University of New Mexico before his nine seasons as a defensive coach for the Aztecs at San Diego State. Arnett said he was grateful for the opportunity to coach an SEC team like MSU and is excited to coach Linebackers along with his other coordinator duties.
“I couldn’t pass up the chance to join an SEC program like Mississippi State,” Arnett said. “I am grateful to Coach Leach and (Director of Athletics) John Cohen for the opportunity to be a part of this first-class institution. Mississippi State has a history of great defenses. The staff Coach Leach has assembled is tremendous, and I can’t wait to get down there and get to work.”
As of Wednesday, the MSU coaching staff is only Leach, Arnett, Tyson Brown and Dave Emmerick. Emmerick has been a part of Leach’s staff for 15 years of his 16 years as a head coach. As chief of staff, Emmerick will oversee recruiting while also setting up and implementing football camps.
“Dave has been my chief of staff at both Washington State and Texas Tech for close to 15 years,” Leach said. “He is a vital member of our staff. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that is invaluable to our program.”
Also joining Leach from Washington State University, Tyson Brown will be the strength and conditioning coach for MSU. Leach described Brown as having a tireless work ethic.
“Tyson is a tireless worker, an energetic leader and the best strength and conditioning coach I have ever been around,” Leach said. “Our players will love working with Tyson and his staff, and we can’t wait for our offseason to get rolling.”
Displaying his work ethic, Brown said he plans on getting players to work hard towards the next season.
“We are going to implement a plan and work extremely hard this offseason,” Brown said. “We can’t wait to get to work with these great young men for such a proud fan base in the best conference in college football.”