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Mullen Interviews Buckley on Campus; AFCA Convention Opens Sunday

Mississippi State confirmed today Nick Savage is being promoted to head strength coach.

Savage, who came to Mississippi State in January 2014 with strength coach Rick Court as top assistant, has served as acting coach the past month. Court accepted the same post at Maryland in early December.

Savage oversaw strength and conditioning work as the Bulldogs prepared for their successful appearance in the Belk Bowl. Now the interim label is removed, in advance of football players returning to campus for the spring semester and first strength and conditioning work towards the 2016 season.

“You live for opportunities like this,” Savage said in a statement provided by MSU media relations. “I am thrilled to continue to be a part of the special program we have here at Mississippi State. We want to continue to raise the standard in everything we do. Our preparations for the 2016 season begins now, we will give relentless effort when we step into the building.”

Savage, 26, is an alumnus of Youngstown State and is pursuing a masters now. He is a native of Youngstown, Ohio, and prior to joining Court’s staff was an intern at Bowling Green in spring 2013; then at Ohio State from May 2013 to January 2014. He has worked exclusively with Bulldog football.

“Nick has played a vital role in the development of our players since his arrival,” said Mullen in the provided statement. “He understands what it takes to train at a championship level from the weight room to nutrition. He brings an infectious personality, energy, and a purpose to our facility every day. Our players respect him and will continue to develop.”

The spring academic semester begins Monday. Mullen has not announced the specific spring football practice schedule but it will begin mid-March and conclude April 16 with the Maroon-White Game.

This means Savage immediately begins the most crucial phase of the S&C calendar. Every strength coach before him has stressed, the weeks from mid-January to spring football is where the strength aspect is prioritized most.

Meanwhile, Mullen has two field-coaching positions yet to be filled. Mississippi State lost both defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Manny Diaz to the same role at Miami. And safeties coach/recruiting coordinator Tony Hughes accepted the head coach post at Jackson State.

Mullen had the on-campus interview Wednesday with Louisville assistant and Pascagoula native Terrell Buckley for the safeties coach job. There have been no campus talks with defensive coordinator or linebackers coach candidates. But, Mullen has ‘scouted’ several candidates and reportedly made contacts with a select few of those.

Mullen leaves Sunday to attend the annual January football coaches (AFCA) convention. This event runs through Wednesday in San Antonio.

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