A nationwide search is underway at Mississippi State for its next director of athletics.
Scott Stricklin was unanimously voted in to replace Jeremy Foley in the same position at the University of Florida and was formally announced as the Gators new athletic director at a press conference Tuesday.
“Going through this process it became obvious to me that there is really only one job I’d leave Mississippi State for and that is to be a Florida Gator,” Stricklin said. “Really, that says something special about Mississippi State and what that place means to me but it also says something special about the University of Florida and what it represents.”
Stricklin agreed to a six-year deal worth $1.076 million annually and a $150,000 signing bonus. He stated the earliest he would start his new job would be Nov. 1.
Meanwhile in Starkville, MSU president Mark Keenum has already started looking for Stricklin’s successor, which would be the university’s 17th director of athletics and fourth in the last decade.
Keenum stated that his goal is to “to find an individual with the vision and leadership to meet high expectations for success at Mississippi State.”
Keenum intends to use the same process he used six years ago when Greg Byrne left for Arizona and Stricklin was promoted from MSU’s senior associate athletic director of external affairs. An external search firm will be used to aid in the search along with input for MSU stakeholders.
A pair of Mississippi State alums could be potential candidates – Jason Cook, currently the senior associate athletics director of external affairs at Texas A&M and John David Wicker, the senior associate athletic director for operations at Georgia Tech.
There are some in-house candidates as well in Scott Wetherbee, the Bulldogs’ senior associate athletic director for external affairs, Bo Hemphill, an MSU alum currently serving as senior associate athletic director of development and John Cohen, head baseball coach and associate athletic director as well as an MSU alum.
Some sitting athletic directors that could be considered are Memphis’ Tom Bowen, Central Michigan’s Dave Heeke and Central Arkansas’ Brad Teague.