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SMITH COLUMN: Mullen's future remains a topic of conversation

December 7, 2011

Sports Editor

Now that the Mississippi State Bulldogs know which football postseason bowl game they are going to play, there seems to be one burning question on the minds of the fans.
"Do you think Dan Mullen is going to coach at Penn State?"
If I had a dime for every time someone has asked me that over the past couple of weeks, let's just say I'd have quite a number of them.
While visiting with another coach on the phone recently, the subject was on his mind despite being busy on the road recruiting.
Even my oldest daughter brought it up Tuesday morning and she doesn't like sports very much. It has been a topic of conversation between her friends at school.
There appears to be a real concern that the Bulldogs are about to lose their football coach and for a good reason.
Penn State is looking for a replacement since having to dismiss Joe Paterno for the off-the-field scandal that has rocked the program.
Even with all of the problems Penn State has right now, it can still be a very attractive job for a young coach like Mullen.
If Penn State were to offer Mullen the position, it would be very hard for him to turn it down. Mullen has connections with that area of the country. His hometown is Manchester, N.H., but graduated from and was a two-year starter at tight end for Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. His father graduated from Penn State.
Mullen spent some of his time last week attempting to diffuse the situation by denying that he or his agent has been contacted by Penn State officials. He may not have been contacted last week, but there's every reason to believe he will be called by the Nittany Lions very soon.
With Mullen's success at MSU the last three years, it's enough to raise the antenna of any program needing to fill a vacancy.
Mullen has a 20-17 record in the last three seasons with the Bulldogs and has taken them to back-to-back bowl games.
Starkville has been a good place for Mullen, his wife Megan and son Canon to spend the last three years. He insists that he's happy here and who wouldn't be with the positive times they have experienced.
Mullen will continue to be loyal to MSU and focused on his job as long as he's the coach. Just don't be surprised if that changes today, Thursday or by the weekend if he gets a deal he can't refuse.
That's just the nature of the business.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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