Coaching career spanned 26 seasons

Updated: October 18, 2003, 3:18 AM ET
Associated Press

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill will retire at the end of the season, ending speculation about the future of the school's winningest coach.

Sherrill posted a letter on the school's athletic Web site Friday, saying he told Mississippi State president Charles Lee and athletic director Larry Templeton about his decision earlier this week.

"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 it to be and it deserves to be," Sherrill wrote.

The Bulldogs are 2-4 heading into Saturday's game at Auburn and are coming off two straight three-win seasons. It is the worst stretch of Sherrill's 26-year career, which includes stops at Pittsburgh and Texas A&M.

Sherrill is in his 13th season at Mississippi State.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press