I don't know that I agree, as an MSU fan. State fans are sick of Stansbury and want something new. Something refreshing. A chance at a slam-dunk, not an assured "good" or "okay" hire. State has had huge success with hiring up-and-comers lately, and I think that trend should continue. Just my opinion.
Mississippi State is a better basketball program — traditionally speaking — than South Carolina. By a wide margin.
Yet it’s Carolina that appears to be on the verge of landing a “name” coach in Kansas State’s well-established Frank Martin. Granted it seems that if Martin moves he will do so partly out of spite for his current boss, but that won’t matter to MSU fans who will most assuredly ask, “Why not us?”
Scott Stricklin hired Parker Executive Search out of Atlanta to help drum up candidates to replace Rick Stansbury. They kicked the tires on first-year Murray State coach Steve Prohm, but talk’s gone quiet on that front since Prohm’s boss said he thought there was a good chance his coach would stay put with a new contract.
Other than Prohm, some assistants (Kentucky’s Kenny Payne is a Mississippi native) and a few other connect-the-dots type candidates (MTSU’s Kermit Davis played at MSU for his father), State’s search has been — to quote “LA Confidential” — off the record, on the QT and very hush-hush.
For comparison’s sake, Martin served as a Bob Huggins assistant at Cincinnati and Kansas State for three years before being promoted to replace his old boss in 2006. Since then he’s had five 20-win seasons in five years, has made the NCAA Tournament four times, and has reached one Elite Eight.
Even if MSU lands Prohm or one of the nation’s fastest-rising assistants, that new coach won’t be able to equal Martin’s short, but proven track record.
That’s not to say an assistant hired by State wouldn’t have as much or even more success than Martin if he winds up at South Carolina. There’s no way of knowing how any college football or basketball coach will do (save a very few — Nick Saban, John Calipari, Roy Williams, etc).
But what we do know is that State fans who just ran off the school’s all-time winningest coach will want to land a bigger name coach than whoever is hired by Carolina. If they don’t, Stricklin will have some ‘splainin’ to do.