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Ex-MSU Assistants Talk About Exiting

When Rick Stansbury chose — cough, cough — to retire at Mississippi State, he left the lives of his assistant coaches and support staff up in the air.  The recently-hired Rick Ray chose to retain assistant George Brooks, but two other Stansbury aides have been shown the door.

Now they’re talking to The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal about that fact.

Marcus Grant told the paper’s Brad Locke that he expected to be retained when he met with Ray on Tuesday:

“Not only was I a coach here, I played here, was a standout player here.  I thought I could bring a lot to the new staff just like I did the old staff.  He thought Coach Brooks would fit in better with his staff and with his approach, so that’s the way he went.  I support that.”

Fellow ex-MSU assistant Phil Cunningham also spoke with Locke.  Cunningham had been on Stansbury’s staff since 2000 and just-departed point guard Dee Bost tweeted his support of Cunningham for the head coaching position when Stansbury stepped down.

Turns out, that was never a consideration, according to Cunningham:

“I would have loved to have had an opportunity to visit with him, and I thought I probably deserved that opportunity, but Scott (Stricklin) chose not to, and that’s his decision.  Hey, no hard feelings.  In this business, that’s the way it is.”

When he learned that he would not get a shot at the top job, Cunningham says he declined the opportunity to discuss an assistant coaching job with Ray.

Disappointed?  Clearly.  Lobbing Molotov cocktails at the program on their way out the door?  Certainly not.  Assistant coaches can’t afford to do that.  People who hire pay attention to how people handle being fired.

By making these comments to the press, Grant and Cunningham have done nothing to damage their chances of landing somewhere else in the future.

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SEC Headlines – 4/5/12

1.  It’s never too early to start projecting next year’s NCAA Tournament bracket, right?  Right?  (Congrats to Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee.)

2.  The postseason football options before conference commissioners appear to be down to four (and none includes an eight-team plan as the NCAA’s president suggested earlier this week).

3.  Is Alabama’s offensive line actually too big?

4.  Auburn’s Jermaine Whitehead is making the move to safety this spring.

5.  New D-coordinator Paul Haynes wants versatile defensive ends at Arkansas.

6.  Rebel defensive back Dehendret Collins is now running on Ole Miss’ first-team defense.

7.  Mississippi State linebacker Chris Hughes is starting to come around after a troubled start to his career.

8.  New MSU hoops coach Rick Ray will retain George Brooks from Rick Stansbury’s staff.  (Phil Cunningham — nominated by Dee Bost to replace Stansbury will be looking for work.)

9.  Will Muschamp is hoping for a smoother second year at Florida.

10.  With Malcolm Mitchell working in the secondary, is Tavarres King ready to be Georgia’s #1 receiver?

11.  Kentucky hoops assistant Orlando Antigua may be the frontrunner for Duquesne’s head coaching job.

12.  John Calipari is hoping the Cats have six first-round NBA draft picks… but the players haven’t made up their minds yet.

13.  UK’s football team will draw stability from its offensive line this season.  (What?  UK football coverage?)

14.  Frank Martin is having to deal with potential transfers out of the South Carolina basketball program.

15.  Tennessee’s run game appears on the mend this spring.

16.  Aggie players like new coach Kevin Sumlin’s loud music at Texas A&M’s practices.

17.  Are we about to see the end of the Cinderella in college sports?

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