January 6, 2011 12:02:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State didn''t take long or look far to fill the coaching vacancies left by Manny Diaz and Mark Hudspeth.
The program announced co-defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Chris Wilson will be promoted to defensive coordinator, replacing Manny Diaz, who accepted the same job at Texas on Wednesday.
Graduate assistant Angelo Mirando was named wide receivers coach, replacing Mark Hudspeth, who left the Bulldogs to become head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette prior to the beginning of Gator Bowl preparation.
Mirando coached MSU''s receivers during that span.
Wilson coached defensive line at Oklahoma before joining Mullen''s staff last season. He served as co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for the Bulldogs this season, helping lead MSU''s defense to a drastic turnaround.
The Bulldogs finished 22nd nationally in scoring defense (19.85 points per game) and 17th in the country in tackles for a loss. The Bulldogs also finished 17th nationally in rushing defense.
In 2009, MSU''s defense finished 71st in the country in scoring defense, 62nd in rushing defense and 89th in tackles for a loss.
"Chris is a talented and knowledgeable coach with a wealth of experience, and we intend to build upon what our defense did this past season," Mullen said today in a school-issued release. "Chris has a great relationship with our players and he''ll make a seamless transition."
Wilson has overseen the development of defensive tackle tandem Josh Boyd and Fletcher Cox, both of whom will be juniors next season.
Wilson will likely continue to coach MSU''s defensive line in addition to being coordinator, leaving a vacancy at linebackers coach left to fill.
Mullen said he will conduct a national search for the final defensive assistant and suggested the new hire could serve as co-coordinator.
"I''m excited about the opportunity to continue what we''ve started here," Wilson said. "I''m thankful to Coach Mullen for the opportunity and I know we can build something special here at Mississippi State. There''s still a great deal of improvement to make, and we''re looking forward to hitting the ground running both in recruiting and when we get back to the practice fields."
Mirando, 25, played quarterback at Case-Western Reserve before graduating in 2008 and spent the previous three seasons, one at Florida and two at Mississippi State, serving as the on-field offensive graduate assistant. He worked with the quarterbacks in ''09 before helping with the receivers in ''10.
MSU receivers recorded 14 catches for 191 yards and three touchdowns in MSU''s 52-14 Gator Bowl win over Michigan. The Bulldogs played the Gator Bowl without leading receiver Chad Bumphis and senior Leon Berry, leaving three sophomores and a freshman as MSU''s top wideouts.
Mullen said Mirando "reminds him of himself" when asked in Jacksonville, Fla. about the work he''d done to prepare the receivers.
"Coach Mullen has been a great mentor to me the past few years and I''m looking forward to continuing to build this program to a championship level," Mirando said. "We''ve got a great group of young receivers that I''ve enjoyed working with this year and we''ll hit the ground running in the spring to get a whole lot better in 2011."
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