Mike Leach has now been on the job in Starkville for six days and with that some hires unofficially have been made for Mike Leach’s staff. Leach has been known for his offensive prowess and with that he will be brining a ton of guys on his staff with him to help install his offense easily.


Zach Arnett (DC)

Mississippi State needed to make a splash hire at defensive coordinator, and they did just that hiring Arnett away from his recently new home of Syracuse, NY. Arnett, who was the architect of the SDSU defense this past season saw great success with his unit finishing 6th in the country in total defense and led the nation in interceptions.

  • 2020  DC Syracuse
  • 2019 DC San Diego State
  • 2011-2019 GA/LB Coach San Diego State


Steve Spurrier Jr (OWR Coach)

Mike Leach will bring his outside wide receiver coach, Steve Spurrier Jr, to Starkville. The old ball coach will more than likely keep the same role he did at Washington State, but with a decent pay raise. Spurrier was an obvious hire for leach as he has been with him for two seasons and has great recruiting ties in the south. Spurrier will do well in his role at Mississippi State, and his role will be very important in increasing the output of wide receivers in Coach Leach’s system.

  • 2018-2019 Washington State OWR Coach
  • 2017-2018 QB Coach/Assistant Head Coach Western Kentucky
  • 2016-2017 Offensive Analyst Oklahoma
  • 2004-2015 WR Coach/Passing Game Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator/Co-Offensive Coordinator South Carolina



Eric Mele (RB Coach)

Another Washington State coach joining the staff, Eric Mele. Mele will be the running backs coach at Mississippi State and will have a ton of talent to work with. Mele has been with Leach the last seven years at Washington State and will have more talent than ever with SEC Leading rusher Kylin Hill, 4* Michigan transfer Kareem Walker, 4* freshman J’quavious Marks, 4* Dillion Johnson, and 3* Lee Witherspoon.

  • 2012-2019 RB coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Offensive Quality Control QB’s Washington State
  • 2007-2012 RB Coach/ Special Teams Coach Wingate University
  • 2006-2007 Passing Game Coordinator/WR coach St. Peters College
  • 2003-2005 Special Teams Coordinator/DB Coach William Peterson College



Mason Miller (OL Coach)

Mason Miller is another Washington State staffer make the move to Starkville. Miller has already hit the ground running offering two OL in 3* Brady Ward  and 3* Dylan Lawerence. Miller played for Leach at Valdosta State. Miller will be needed to teach our talented offensive line how to run the sets that Mike Leach will call. Miller will have 5* Charles Cross, 4* Kwatrivous Johnson, 4* Brandon Cunningham, and 4* Laquinton Sharp.

  • 2018-2019 OL Coach Washington State
  • 2016-2017 OL Coach Nevada
  • 2014-2016 OL Coach/Associate Head Coach Tarleton State
  • 2013-2014 Head Coach McMurry University
  • 2011-2013 Offensive Coordinator McMurry University
  • 2005-2008 OL Coach/Assistant Head Coach New Mexico State
  • 2003-2004 OL Coach/RB Coach SE Louisiana
  • 2001-2003 Head Coach Valwood High School



Matt Brock (ST Coach)

Matt Brock will be the Special Teams coach at Mississippi State. Brock, who was with Coach Leach for two seasons at Washington State will try to improve Mississippi State’s poor special teams play that has plaqued them the last couple of seasons. Brock is a young coach who played at Baker University and will be a great addition to Leach’s staff.

  • 2018-2019 Special Teams Coach/OLB Coach Washington State
  • 2016-2017 Special Teams Coordinator/LB Coach Bowling Green
  • 2013-2015 Defensive Quality Control Texas Tech
  • 2011-2012 Graduate Assistant Bake University


Dave Nichol (IWR Coach)

One of the inevitable hirings appears to have occurred with Dave Nichol being the Inside Wide Receivers coach at Mississippi State. Nichol joins Steve Spurrier Jr. as the two wide receiver coaches Mike Leach will have on his staff. The emphasis on wide receivers in the air raid offense is huge and having two coaches is something Mike Leach has done since his time at Texas Tech. The Inside WR coach will replace the TE coach, as Mike Leach does not use Tight Ends in his offense.

  • 2015-2019 IWR Coach Washington State
  • 2012-2014 OWR Coach/Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach East Carolina
  • 2007-2012 WR Coach Arizona
  • 2006-2007 Staff Assistant Baylor
  • 2005-2006 Assistant Crisco JC (TX)
  • 2003-2005 Offensive Assistant Texas Tech


Tony Hughes (S Coach)

Bruce Feldman of the Athletic posted this morning that long-time Mississippi State assistant Tony Hughes will be retained by Mike Leach. Hughes, who coached tight ends last season will likely move to safeties coach under Leach. Hughes has coached at all three FBS programs in the state as well as being the Head Coach at Jackson State from 2016-2018. Hughes has also coached in the JUCO system in Mississippi and some of the top high school programs in the state after his playing career was over at Southern Miss. Hughes is regarded as one of the best recruiters in the state and will be huge to keep Mississippi State’s in-state recruiting advantage.

  • 2019 Associated HC/TE Coach Mississippi State
  • 2016-2018 Head Coach Jackson State
  • 2009-2015 AHC/DB/Recruiting Coordinator Mississippi State
  • 2008 DB Coach Southern Miss
  • 2005-2007 DB/TE Coach Ole Miss
  • 2003-2004 DB/OLB Coach Louisiana Tech
  • 1994-2002 DB/DC Hinds CC (MS)
  • 1992-1993 DB Coach West Alabama
  • 1988-1991 Offensive Coordinator Hattiesburg H.S. (MS)
  • 1986-1987 DB Coach South Natchez H.S. (MS)
  • 1985 Coach Philadelphia H.S. (MS)
  • 1984 GA/DB coach Southern Miss


Darcel Mcbath (CB Coach)

Darcel Mcbath was recently hired at Mississippi State from Washington State as CB’s coach. Mcbath, who played for Mike Leach at Texas Tech has been known to be a relentless recruiter and was one of the best on staff in Pullman. Mcbath was a 2nd round pick in the NFL draft and played in 52 games in the NFL for the 49’ers, Denver Broncos, and Jacksonville Jaguars

  • 2017-2019 Defense QC/CB Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator Washington State
  • 2016 Defense QC Intern (DB’s) North Texas



Jeff Phelps (DL Coach)

Another Washington State coach hired was Jeff Phelps DL Coach. Phelps played  linebacker at Northern Illinois and has held various coaching positions throughout his career from defensive positions to recruiting coordinator.

  • 2017-2019 DL Coach Washington State
  • 2011-2017 DL Coach Minnesota
  • 2006-2010 Recruiting Coordinator/DL coach NIU
  • 2003-2005 DL Coach Hillsdale (Mich.) College
  • 2000-2003  RB Coach/LB Coach Depauw
  • 1999 GA Ball State



Drew Hollingshead (O QC/QB Coach)

Drew Hollingshead will work the QB’s and be in an off field role for Mike Leach, which is the same position he held at Washington State for four seasons. Hollingshead played quarterback at Houston and will be important in helping install the air-raid offense.

  • 2016-2019 Offensive QC/QB Coach Washington State
  • 2012-2015 Texas A&M Commerce Texas A&M Commerce



Tyson Brown (S/C Coach)

Tyson Brown will be the Strength and Condition Coach at Mississippi State. Brown, who arrived in Starkville yesterday, will try to get Mississippi State’s players stronger and tougher, which was been lacking recently.

  • 2018-2019 Strength and Condition Coordinator Washington State
  • 2017-2018 Director of Strength and Condition Elon
  • 2014-2017 Assistant Strength and Condition Coordinator Washington State




Dave Emerick (Assistant AD/Chief of Staff)

Dave Emerick known as Mike Leach’s “right hand man” will be Assistant AD and Chief of Staff for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Emerick was a guarantee hire for Leach as he has been with him every step of the way. Emerick arrived from Pullman yesterday, and will be one of the most important hires on Leach’s staff.

  • 2012-2019 Assistant AD/Chief of Staff  Washington State
  • 2010-2011 Assistant Director of Operations/Director of On-Campus Recruiting Arizona
  • 2004 -2009 Unit Coordinator/Director of Player Personnel/Chief of Staff Texas Tech
  • 2002 College Scouting Intern Houston Texans
  • 1997 -2001 Recruiting Intern Kentucky


Brittany Thackery (Director of Player Personnel)

Another hire that was revealed yesterday was Director of Player Personnel Brittany Thackery, Thackery was an All-American softball player at Arizona and is a rising star in the administrative side of running programs.

  • 2016-2019 Athletics Intern/Academic & Transition Advisor/ Director of Player Personnel Washington State
  • 2015-2016 Assistant Softball coach Bowling Green
  • 2012-2015 Assistant Softball Coach Miami University (OH)