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Stansbury To “Retire” At MSU Today

Now we know why Scott Stricklin has been so quiet the last 24 hours.  He’s been working out a “retirement” package for head basketball coach Rick Stansbury.  The winningest coach in MSU history is expected to announce this afternoon that he’s stepping down after three NCAA Tournament-less seasons.

Stansbury — who served as an assistant at State from 1990 through 1998 before taking over as head coach — compiled a career mark of 293-165.  That’s a winning percentage of .641.  He fielded 10 20-win teams.  He also took the Bulldogs to 11 postseason tournaments (six NCAAs, five NITs) in his 14 years in the captain’s chair.

But Stansbury failed to lead the Dogs to a single Sweet Sixteen.  His last three years have been marked by disappointments on the court and embarrassing issues off it (most of which stemmed from the signing of Renardo Sidney, who can rightfully be called a “coach-killer” at this point).  Fan support dwindled as the faithful became tired of seeing the same guy stalk the Humphrey Coliseum sideline.

Stansbury is just 52 years of age, so if you think he’s actually “retiring” without a gentle nudge from AD Scott Stricklin’s shoe, you’re dreaming.  Expect him to coach again at some point.  With his record, he’ll get a shot somewhere.

As for State — like South Carolina — it’s now all about the job search.  No doubt you’ll hear the biggest and hottest names in the biz kicked around by fans and fan websites.  Expect to hear Cowbell ringers from Hernando to Pascagoula shouting “Shaka Smart!”

Who Mississippi State can actually land?  Well, that’s another matter.  We’d put our money on an up-and-comer.  Don’t be surprised if Gregg Marshall of Wichita State doesn’t suddenly pop up on two SEC programs’ radar, for example.

But for now, the focus will be on Stansbury for just a few more hours.  Fans have been invited to attend his press conference at 2pm ET.  There some of the same people who’ve called for his ouster can soothe their consciences by cheering him and thanking him for his valuable contribution to MSU hoops.

Contributions that are unmatched in school history.  Contributions a new coach will be expected to top.


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