Mississippi State coach Sherrill to retire at end of season

Updated: October 17, 2003, 7:37 PM ET

STARKVILLE, Mississippi - Mississippi State football coach Jackie Sherrill, who turned around a moribund program that again has fallen on hard times, said Friday he will retire at the end of the season.

Sherrill made the announcement in an e-mail to associates of the Mississippi State program.

"I feel this advance notice gives the administration ample time to hire a new head football coach and make sure the football program continues to get back to where everyone wants to be and it deserves to be," Sherrill said.

"This decision has not come easily for me because of my great feeling for the players and their families, the coaches and their families, and the entire MSU family."

Sherrill, 59, is one of 17 coaches in NCAA history to take as many as three different schools to bowl games. Since arriving in Starkville in 1991, he has led the Bulldogs to the Liberty Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Independence Bowl and three Peach Bowls.

"Jackie has accomplished much more than becoming the winningest football coach in Mississippi State history, more than carrying us to more bowl games than any other coach, more than carrying us to the SEC Championship game, more than all the national television exposures than any other coach," athletic director Larry Templeton said in a statement.

"He showed the Bulldog family that they could compete for championships. He totally changed the expecation level of Mississippi State football."

Mississippi State had just one winning season in the nine years before Sherrill was hired. He guided the Bulldogs to back-to-back 7-5 records in his first two seasons and has a 75-69-2 mark in 13 years in Starkville.

But Mississippi State went 3-8 in 2001 and 3-9 last year, including an 0-8 mark in the Southeastern Conference. It opened this season with four losses before defeating Vanderbilt and non-conference foe Memphis.

"Two years ago, we started a downhill slide and I have deep regret about that," Sherrill said. "However, I have made sure we now have the players in place to regain the respect and bring the excitement back to Scott Field."

Sherrill started his coaching career at Washington State in 1976 but rose to prominence during five seasons at Pittsburgh that included three straight 11-1 campaigns. The Panthers finished the 1980 season ranked second in the nation.

In 1982, Sherrill moved on to Texas A&M, where he spent seven years and guided the Aggies to a pair of 10-2 finishes.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index