- Associated Press - Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has agreed to a new contract that will pay him an average of $2.65 million over the next four years.

The $10.6 million deal has a $1.4 million buyout, according to MSU spokesman Joe Galbraith. The contract is subject to approval of the state’s college board, though that confirmation is usually a formality.

"I want to be at Mississippi State, and Mississippi State wants me," Mullen said. "So everybody ends up happy."

Mullen has a 13-11 record in two seasons at Mississippi State, but the program showed substantial improvement this fall, finishing the regular season with an 8-4 record. The 21st-ranked Bulldogs face Michigan in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1.

Mullen said his assistant coaches will also receive raises.

"We believe this contract is extremely competitive nationally," MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin said. "Coach Mullen has shown great leadership at Mississippi State over the past two years. He and I share a vision of what we want this program to become, and that’s among the best in the country."

The new contract represents a significant pay raise for Mullen, who was hired at a base salary of $1.2 million per year.

MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin and Mullen have been in contract talks for a few months, with the negotiations becoming more intense since the Bulldogs ended the regular season with a 31-23 win over rival Mississippi.

"I never had any doubt that a deal would get done," Stricklin said. "We were always on the same page. It just takes some time to work out details."

Mullen’s name was connected with openings at both Florida and Miami, but both those jobs have been filled. Mullen was the Gators’ offensive coordinator from 2005 to ‘08 under previous coach Urban Meyer, helping them win two national championships.

Both Stricklin and Mullen said they have discussed facility upgrades, including a new building that will house all of the program’s operations, and possibly expanding Scott Field, which has a capacity of just over 55,000. MSU sold out every home game this season.

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