According to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, Mississippi State’s search to replace Rick Stansbury is focusing in on Murray State head coach Steve Prohm:
“According to sources, at least one person working on behalf of Mississippi State has already reached out to Prohm, whose Racers were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by Marquette on Saturday. The next step in the process remains unclear. But, multiple sources said, Prohm is Mississippi State’s primary target for now.”
Parrish also states that Prohm would be interested in MSU’s job because of the clear upgrade from Murray State (“prestige) and a big boost in salary (“milions of dollars”). Prohm is also a good ol’ Southern man, raised in Georgia and an Alabama grad. He’s also recruited the Magnolia State well for Murray State.
To make if more clear that State is targeting Prohm, WPSD-TV in Paducah, Kentucky is reporting that Murray State AD didn’t appreciate MSU’s search firm — Parker Executive Search out of Atlanta — placing a call to his coach last week during the Racers NCAA run.
“I think there’s a right way to do things. Considering we were still playing — it is what it is.” He said his coach handled things properly by alerting him to the “would-ya-be-interested” call he received.
Also in that television report it’s pointed out that Prohm said after his team’s ouster from the tournament (and after being contacted by MSU): “Oh, yeah, I’ll be back in Murray. I’ll be back in Murray. I love Murray and I want to be at Murray. We signed a great class and we’ve got great kids coming back. We’ve got a great future here.”
Is that a play for leverage with State? Maybe. But after a meeting between the coach and Murray State AD that lasted “for several hours” yesterday, Ward said: “There’s a great chance he’ll stay. In the end, I think he’ll be back.”
Prohm is 37-years-old and he just concluded his first season as a head coach, replacing Billy Kennedy who left the Racers for Texas A&M prior to this season. Granted, a 31-2 record is pretty doggone impressive, but hiring Prohm would basically be like hiring an assistant coach — which is what he was from 1998 through 2011 at Centenary, Southeastern Louisiana, Tulane, and under Kennedy at Murray State.
When a major school hires an assistant said aide usually comes from a bigger program. Had Prohm not had his one year in the sun this season, would State be chasing him? Or is a one-year run long enough for Parker Executive and AD Scott Stricklin to truly gauge a winner?
Arkansas once hired a long-time assistant with one good year of head coaching experience under his belt named Stan Heath. Heath left that program in a mess roster- and APR-wise when he was dismissed in 2007. Five years later, he took South Florida on an impressive run to the NCAA tourney this year. But that success doesn’t mean much for Arkansas.
Prohm makes sense in that he knows the SEC and he’s recruited Mississippi. But his track record as a head coach is short and there’s no denying that Kennedy was the head coach as Murray State’s program was being built.
If, however, Prohm does wind up being Mississippi State’s man, expect us to write that “There’s a date for the Prohm” when the Bulldogs schedule the announcement. There’s no way we’ll be able to avoid writing that. Sorry in advance.
Meanwhile, Oral Roberts head coach Scott Sutton has also been mentioned in connection with the job in Starkville.