Croom takes the job at Miss. State

By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
Dec. 2, 2003
STARKVILLE Larry Templeton admits he felt the pressure during the past two months as he spearheaded the search for Mississippi State's new head football coach.
But the MSU athletic director said it had nothing to do with outside forces desiring to see a minority chosen to direct the Bulldogs, but instead had a lot to do with winning.
Templeton said MSU made that positive step with the hiring of Sylvester Croom, who will be officially announced as State's head coach at a 2 p.m. press conference at the Leo Seal M-Club today.
In 1998 the Bulldogs reached their pinnacle under recently retired head coach Jackie Sherrill, winning the SEC West Division title and earning a spot in the SEC Championship Game and the Cotton Bowl.
Since then, things have been on the decline. MSU has won just eight games over the past three seasons and struggled to a disappointing 2-10 record this year.
Templeton said Croom is already putting together his coaching staff, as the former University of Alabama All-American center begins the task of righting the sinking MSU football ship.
Croom, 49, has spent the last three seasons as running backs coach for the Green Bay Packers. In all, he has 17 years of NFL coaching experience, including three as offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions.
He was an assistant coach at the University of Alabama for 11 years, where he coached linebackers.
Mississippi State fans attending Monday's night's MSU basketball game at Humphrey coliseum seemed pleased with Croom's hiring.
Hill said it wasn't important to him that the Bulldogs stay inside the MSU family when searching for their next head football coach.
Templeton said that he and Croom have not settled on a salary, but pointed out that didn't seem to be an issue to either he or the new MSU coach.
The maximum base salary Croom can receive is $180,000 according to State College Board guidelines. That's the same amount earned by Sherrill, whose overall compensation was estimated at between $750,000-$900,000. Croom is expected to land a similar package.
Templeton said Croom's biggest conversation about money came when the two discussed what could be offered to his assistant coaches.
Templeton declined to divulge any names, saying he would leave those announcements up to Croom, possibly as early as today.