Mississippi State’s coaching search has reportedly established a top target after 1 week. Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell is a top target to be the next MSU head coach, according to John Brice of FootballScoop.

Chadwell, who turns 47 in January, has had success at North Greenville, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina and Liberty. He does not have Power 5 coaching experience.

Liberty hired Chadwell after Hugh Freeze took the head coaching position at Auburn. In his first season, Chadwell has the Flames 11-0, ranked No. 22 in the AP Top 25.

Liberty wraps up its regular season at UTEP on Saturday and plays New Mexico State in the Conference USA Championship Game on Dec. 1. The 2023 season is the 6th time Chadwell has led his team to double-digit wins.

At Division II independent North Greenville, Chadwell’s team improved from a 2-8 showing in Year 1 to 9-3 in Year 2 and 11-3 in Year 3.  Charleston Southern was 35-14 in 4 seasons under Chaswell, posting a pair of 10-win seasons.

Chadwell took the Coastal Carolina program to new heights. After going 5-7 in 2019, the Chanticleers were 32-6 over the next 3 years, winning 11 games in back-to-back seasons (2020, ’21).

Mississippi State would reportedly have to pay a $4 million buyout to swipe Chadwell from Liberty. Zach Arnett is owed a $4.75 million buyout, though his contract has offset language if he takes another job.

While FootballScoop calls Chadwell “a top target,” MSU has also been in contact with a handful of coaches who have SEC ties, such as Jacksonville State’s Rich Rodriguez, UNLV’s Barry Odom and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby. Mississippi State interim coach Greg Knox is mentioned as a potential candidate.