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Koenning leaves MSU for Texas

January 16, 2014


Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen will have to search for another coach.
After filling his strength and conditioning head coaching position with Rick Court on Tuesday, it was learned late Tuesday night that Bulldog offensive coordinator Les Koenning was accepting the wide receiver coaching job at Texas under new head coach Charlie Strong.
Koenning was introduced on Wednesday afternoon.
"I have known Charlie for a long time and am thoroughly, thoroughly impressed with the way he coaches football," Koenning said in a press release. "I'm just happy to be a part of this because he is a very successful coach, and being able to help him at The University of Texas was really exciting for me."
Koenning played wide receiver at Texas from 1977-80. He spent the last five seasons as the Bulldog offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
During three of those seasons, MSU had some of the best offensive numbers in school history.
In 2013, the Bulldogs set the yards per game average with 434.4. The old mark was set in 1982 at 422 yards per game.
He was instrumental in the development of Tyler Russell, who leaves MSU with a handful of school records. Dak Prescott also learned a great deal from Koenning.
Prescott has been regarded as many around the nation as a “dark horse” for the Heisman Trophy this coming season.
Koenning has been an offensive coordinator since 1998. He was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Duke that season. Since then, he has been the offensive coordinator for Houston, TCU, Alabama, Texas A&M and the Bulldogs.
With the hiring of Koenning, Strong’s first staff at Texas is complete.
Koenning was also the running backs coach at MSU from 1986-89 under head coach Rockey Felker.
Strong and Mullen spent time together from 2005-08 when they were assistants at Florida under current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.
With the departure of Koenning, that leaves only tight ends coach Scott Sallach, offensive line coach John Hevesy and safeties coach Tony Hughes as the only remaining coaches from Mullen’s original staff.
This is the second coordinator the Bulldogs have lost to the Longhorns. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz left for Texas after the 2010 season.
Koenning is the second coach from last season’s team to leave. Strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis left for the same position at Connecticut. Court was hired from Ohio State, where he was an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
McKinney decides
to return to MSU
Mississippi State linebacker Benardrick McKinney flirted with going pro, but announced Wednesday afternoon that he was returning to school.
It was learned during bowl practices that McKinney was considering forgoing his final two years at MSU and go pro. After evaluation, McKinney decided against it.
“I just want everybody to know I’m staying for one more year,” McKinney said in a video released by the athletic department.
McKinney led the Bulldogs with 71 tackles and 3 ½ sacks last season as the Bulldogs went on to a 7-6 record and a blowout 44-7 win of Rice in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn.
McKinney will be redshirt junior this upcoming season.
“I wanted to stay another year to better myself as a man and better myself as an athlete,” McKinney said.

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