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Mullen, State Yet to Announce Hiring of Southern Cal Defense Coach And Recruiter

Dan Mullen doesn’t have to be in the office to get work done. Or even in the state.

Mississippi State’s head coach has apparently been able to select and secure his new defensive coordinator at the annual American Football Coaches Association convention in San Antonio. Unofficial word is that Peter Sirmon of Southern California has agreed to take Mullen’s offer.

He just finished his second season with the Trojan program, serving as associate head coach as well as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. He joined USC in December 2013.

Mississippi State has not made any announcement on Sirmon or other hirings. Mullen is due back in Starkville on Wednesday after attending the AFCA convention where he was elected Tuesday to the body’s board.

A native of Wenatchee, Wash., he was a quarterback and linebacker at Walla Walla High School. He was signed by Oregon and lettered 1996-99 as a linebacker. He led the Ducks in tackles in both 1997 and ’99 and was first-team All-Pac 10 as a senior, having played in three bowl games. Sirmon was also invived to the Senior Bowl.

Sirmon was drafted by Tennessee in spring 2000 and played seven seasons at linebacker. In that career the Titans won two Division titles with three NFL playoff appearances.

He began his coaching career at Central Washington, working with linebackers for one season. It was a good one as the Wildcats made the Division II playoffs. Sirmon returned to his alma mater in 2009 as a graduate assistant, and in 2010 was a G.A. with Derek Dooley at Tennessee, working with safeties. The next year he was promoted to linebackers coach for the 2011 season.

then went back to full-time coaching in 2010-11 under Derek Dooley at Tennessee. He left the SEC for his former conference but this time at Washington working under Steve Sarkisian in 2012-13. Besides linebackers, he was the Huskies recruiting coordinator in 2013. When Sarkisian was hired away by Southern Cal, he took Sirmon with him.

As recruiting coordinator in Troy, Sirmon put together the top-ranked class in the Pac-12 in 2014; and for 2015 it was ranked first nationally by That class included the #1 ranked cornerback prospect, #2 linebacker, and #5 defensive end.

In a February 2015 interview with’s Gerard Martines, Sirmon said “Kids ask a lot ‘what if you go to another school’. I tell them if we don’t win games you’re going to have a new coach. And if we win a bunch of games, you’ll probably have a new coach.

“That’s why the good recruiters are personable, relation based people. There’s not a lot of life-based decisions that don’t come down to relationships. I don’t know how people don’t eventually have an impact on decisions whether it’s football or anything else.”

When Sarkisian was fired mid-season of 2015, Sirmon was one of the assistants retained by interim and soon-to-be head coach Clay Helton.

Sirmon has a bachelors in political science from Oregon. He will turn 39 on February 18. He and wife Lindsay have one son and two daughters.

An announcement on Sirmon, as well as the acknowledged hiring of Terrell Buckley as safeties coach, is expected Wednesday. Word is the MSU staff is to be out recruiting on Thursday, in advance of hosting the first round of January weekend official visits by prospects.

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