State Extends Croom Through 2011

When the Bulldogs assembled Monday afternoon for their first off-season team meeting of 2008, they also heard some news that celebrated both what they did last fall and showed Mississippi State's commitment to the future. Specifically, that Coach Sylvester Croom has received a contract extension.

University president Dr. Robert Foglesong has requested a two-year extension to Croom's current contract, which would carry the coach through the 2001 Mississippi State season. The extension must be approved by the state's college Board of Trustees. Croom, who just completed his fourth and most successful season with the Bulldog program, was halfway through four-year contract. The state of Mississippi limits employee contracts to a maximum four years.

The announcement was made directly to the Bulldogs today. "Doc called and said he wanted to talk to the team today," Croom said. "He came over and announced it to the team in our 4:00 meeting. I was very appreciative, and it was very thoughtful on his part."

"It's really put some closure to a lot of things, particularly tomorrow when I'm going out recruiting. I don't have to deal with speculation about the length of my contract, and the guys that we're recruiting know I have every intention of being here until they graduate. I'm excited and thankful to Doc for his confidence in me and this coaching staff. And I can assure you we'll work extremely hard to warrant that confidence. This year was a big step in us moving forward in building a championship program. But our goal is still to win the conference championship."

No financial details were forthcoming of the new contract. Croom was being paid over.$950,000 annually on the previous deal between the base contract and additional funding. With previous incentives he was paid over $1,000,000 after this past season's success.

"We don't know the details," Croom said. "That's left up to the president, my agent will talk to them and they'll work out all the details, I don't get involved in all that stuff."

After three years of rebuilding and three-win seasons, Croom's fourth Bulldog team broke out with a 8-5 record and a 4-4 SEC mark that matched total league wins in those previous three years. The 2007 campaign was capped by a 10-3 victory in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Mississippi State's first post-season appearance since the 2000 season.

Croom was voted SEC Coach of the Year by his league peers, as well as National Coach of the Year by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is one of seven finalists for the national Paul Bryant Coach of the Year award, and a finalist for Liberty Mutual national Coach of the Year.

Croom was hired in December of 2003, taking over a program under NCAA investigation, and did not sign a true multi-year contract until after sanctions and probation were announced in October 2004. State is off sanctions now, though the mandatory probationary period extends through October 2009.

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