Football coach Dan Mullen stepped on to the Mississippi State campus and challenged fans to show up.
He vowed that if they showed up, things would change.
For 16-consecutive home games, State fans have sold out Davis Wade Stadium, proving they were committed to supporting their Bulldogs.
All Mullen has done is lead MSU to back-to-back bowl victories, igniting the fanbase and building expectations to a fever pitch.
Wins aren’t the only thing Mullen has had a hand in building as the Bulldogs have dedicated over $100 million to new facilities and facility upgrades to support the football program.
Mississippi State finalized its $75 million expansion/renovation of Davis Wade Stadium on Wednesday, demonstrating its support of Mullen and the maroon and white faithful.
"I’m so excited right now,” said Mullen. “When I got here, one of the first things I tried to do was tell our fanbase if you sell out the stadium, we can build a winning program, but we need to do that first.
“They deserve this. They’ve sold out 16-straight games. We are to the point now where some people are expanding stadiums because they think this is an arms race. We’re expanding because we have a need for more seating in one of the great stadiums in the Southeastern Conference.”
As head coach, Mullen shared his thoughts on what attributes the additions should have, but didn’t really worry himself with the overall scope of the project.
“(MSU athletic director) Scott (Stricklin) and I got together and talked about bowling it in and adding the jumbotron to keep it exciting,” said Mullen. “We want to keep the excitement we have, (and) that edge. I’ve been involved some, but not nearly as much as with our football facility.”
Some would look at the pressure of filling the stadium each week and wilt, not Mullen, he relishes the opportunity.
“I love the pressure,” said Mullen. “Hopefully, we will have an SEC Championship by the time we move into that stadium and create even more excitement for our fanbase.
“I put pressure on myself every year to win and I know we will put pressure on ourselves to continue to put a great product on the field, (and) a great team that the people of Mississippi can be proud of. You know this is a lot of pressure on our fan base to step up their game even more.”
From a football perspective, the expansion of Davis Wade Stadium will relocate the visitor’s locker room to the north end zone, which will alleviate logistics issues on gameday. The north end zone will also bring the fans closer to the action as there will be a terrace for the fans to get near the action as teams warm up and go through drills.
When all is said and done and Southern Mississippi rolls into Starkville for the 2014 season opener, the Bulldogs will have an expanded and renovated Dawg House to showcase as they celebrate the 100th season at Scott Field.