January 21, 2014 9:58:48 AM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State made a commitment to defensive coordinator Geoff Collins to keep him on its football coaching staff.
On Monday, Collins and MSU agreed to a two-year extension and a raise that will keep him in Starkville. Collins is the first MSU assistant coach in Dan Mullen's five-year tenure as head coach to receive a contract renegotiation.
"Geoff is one of the bright defensive minds in all of college football," Mullen said in a university release. "We as a staff and I know our players are excited about his extension. We are building something special here at Mississippi State, and he understands what it means to be a part of the Bulldog family. He continues to raise expectations for our team defensively and is also a tremendous recruiter."
Collins' new deal includes a salary of $575,000 for this season and a salary of $625,000 in 2015. According to USA Today, the figure in the final year would make Collins the seventh-highest paid defensive coordinator in the Southeastern Conference.
Numerous media outlets mentioned Collins as a candidate for the open defensive coordinator position at Florida State, the 2013 national champions. According to USA Today, Collins made $291,700 in 2012 with MSU. His salary in 2013 was $325,000, which was 11th among defense coordinators in the SEC.
MSU also announced "contract adjustments for the remainder of the MSU coaching staff are expected to be announced in the near future."
Last season, Collins worked as full-time defensive coordinator and helped the Bulldogs finish 33rd in the country in scoring defense (23.1 points per game).
"I am proud to be a Mississippi State Bulldog," Collins said in a university release. "We have a talented group coming back next season and believe it can be a special year. I look forward to continuing to develop our players on and off the football field. Coming off another bowl win and with National Signing Day approaching, the direction of Mississippi State football is bright."
Before Collins' new contract, MSU had four different defensive coordinators in Mullen's tenure with the Bulldogs. The previous three assistant coaches left MSU to take similar positions at other Bowl Championship Series schools (Carl Torbush, 2009, Kansas; Manny Diaz, 2010, Texas; Chris Wilson, 2012, Georgia).
MSU is expected to have eight returning starters from a defense that ranked fourth in the SEC in rushing defense (144.15 yards per game), fifth in SEC in passing defense (205.2), and tied for fourth in SEC in turnovers earned (25).
"Coach Collins immediately brought that juice and just brought some life to these guys that were desperately needing more energy into the program," MSU sophomore middle linebacker Benardrick McKinney said. "We as linebackers knew what kind of coordinator he would be, but he immediately sold himself to the rest of the team by making this a big family."
In 2009 at Florida International, Collins was defensive coordinator and led a unit that was No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference in total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, and turnover margin. For his efforts, Collins was a finalist for the Broyles Award, which is given annually to the nation's top assistant coach. This past winter, multiple media outlets mentioned his name in connection with the open defensive coordinator position at Georgia Tech and the head coaching vacancy at FIU.
MSU still has to fill an assistant coaching position vacant after offensive coordinator Les Koenning left MSU to become wide receivers coach at Texas.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.