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“Swag is State,” Jeff Lebby...

“Swag is State,” Jeff Lebby era begins in Starkville

By: Magnolia Tribune - November 27, 2023

(Photo from HailStateFB on X/Twitter)

“We’re going to be a football team that scores a bunch of points,” promised new Mississippi State Head Coach Jeff Lebby as he arrived in Starkville Sunday night.

Mississippi State’s private airplane taxied into a hangar at George M. Bryant Airport in Starkville late Sunday night. On board, the next head coach of the Bulldogs’ football program, Jeff Lebby, and his family, wife Staley, daughter Kora, and son Kane.

Lebby had been announced earlier in the evening and his plane was greeted by a raucous crowd of State faithful. Lebby stepped off the plane cowbell in hand as the clang of fans’ cowbells rang out across the tarmac. As Lebby made his way through the crowd, State players hoisted Athletic Director Zac Selmon on their shoulders.

Lebby told those assembled, “I just absolutely love the fact that I’m going to get to go to work every single day at a place that has such passion and such care and such toughness about playing football.”

He inherits a team that struggled to put points on the board this year, finishing at the bottom of the SEC in points scored. Asked about the need to reignite the offense, Lebby said “People understand what we’ve done in the past. We’re going to be a football team that scores a bunch of points.” He continued “We’re going to put a very exciting brand of football for everybody that is so passionate about the game of football here at State. You’re going to be proud of what’s happening on Saturday afternoon’s at Davis Wade. That’s a promise.”

Lebby closed by saying that “Swag is State.”

Lebby has a history of producing dynamic offenses. He’s also no stranger to the SEC or the demands of SEC fanbases, having spent two years as offensive coordinator under Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss.

Lebby signed at Oklahoma as a player out of high school. After suffering injury, he became a student assistant for the Sooners. The 39-year old experienced a relatively quick rise through the coaching ranks after finishing in Oklahoma.

Following a brief stint at the high school level, Lebby joined the Baylor Bears staff, serving in various offensive roles including passing coordinator and runningbacks coach. In total, Lebby spent nine years at Baylor.

In 2018, he joined the University of Central Florida as the quarterbacks coach and was elevated the following year to offensive coordinator under then-head coach and former Sooner quarterback Josh Heupel.

In 2020 and 2021, Lebby served as Ole Miss’s offensive coordinator, mentoring standout quarterback Matt Corral. In 2022, Lebby left Oxford to return to his alma mater and lead the Sooners’ offense under head coach Brent Venables.

At each stop over the last six years, Lebby’s offenses have performed near the top of the NCAA rankings.

PositionTotal Offense Ranking (Yards Per Game)Points Per Game Ranking
2018 UCF (QB Coach)5th (522.7)6th (43.2)
2019 UCF (OC)2nd (540.5)5th (43.4)
2020 Ole Miss (QB/OC)3rd (555.5)14th (39.2)
2021 Ole Miss (QB/OC)6th (492.5)24th (33.7)
2022 Oklahoma (OC)13th (474.0)33rd (32.8)
2023 Oklahoma (OC)4th (502.4)3rd (43.2)

Mississippi State Athletic Director Zac Selmon, who also got his start at the University of Oklahoma, believes that dominance can continue as Lebby moves from a coordinator role to the head spot.

In a statement released on Sunday, Selmon said, “As we continue to invest in excellence at Mississippi State, the future of our football program is incredibly bright with the addition of Jeff Lebby at the helm. I am confident that Jeff is the perfect leader for the next exciting chapter of Mississippi State football. He will bring an exciting brand of football, elite student-athlete development, and a winning culture to Starkville, all while doing so with high integrity. He is a dynamic recruiter who will attract an elite coaching staff and the nation’s top talent. There is no doubt in my mind that Jeff’s leadership, vision, and resilient work ethic will take this program to incredible heights. We could not be more excited to welcome Jeff, his wife Staley, and their children Kora and Kane to the Mississippi State family. It is a great time to be a Bulldog and only going to get better.” 

Mississippi State President Mark Keenum congratulated Selmon for the search and joined other Bulldog faithful in welcoming Lebby. “I want to commend MSU Athletics Director Zac Selmon for leading a very comprehensive and thorough national search that produced Coach Jeff Lebby as our new head football coach at Mississippi State University,” said Keenum. “Coach Lebby is one of the most innovative offensive minds in college football and I look forward to him leading our football program to the standard our loyal Bulldog fan base wants and deserves.”

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Magnolia Tribune

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