By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Vic Schaefer was 29 years old when he accepted his first head coaching job. He feels a little better prepared for the next go-round.
Schaefer, now 51, was introduced Tuesday as Mississippi State’s new women’s basketball coach. His resume is a lot longer and fuller of accomplishments than it was in 1990 when he took over at Sam Houston State.
He compiled a record of 80-110 in seven seasons there, with just one winning campaign.
“When you’re young, you think you can out-coach everybody. It sometimes is a hard lesson in life,” Schaefer said. “I learned pretty quick that good players make good coaches.”
Good defense helps, too, and that’s an area he specialized in while assisting Gary Blair, first at Arkansas (1997-2003) and then the past nine seasons at Texas A&M. Schaefer held the title of associate head coach and had a big role in the growth of the A&M program.
The Lady Aggies won their first NCAA championship last season.
“We’re not going to allow you to score the way you want to score,” Schaefer said of his defensive philosophy. “You may score, but it’s not going to be off some pretty two-down screening and coming off screens. You’re going to have to create something.”
Schaefer takes over for Sharon Fanning-Otis, who retired after 17 seasons at MSU. The Lady Bulldogs went 14-16 this past season, including 4-12 in SEC play..
What made Schaefer the right man for the job? Athletics director Scott Stricklin said he fit all the qualities MSU was looking for in a coach.
“I think Vic Schaefer’s a slam dunk in all four of those areas: work ethic, competitiveness, intelligence and charisma,” Stricklin said.
Getting Schaefer out of Texas was something Stricklin was told would be hard to do. But Schaefer saw an opportunity too good to pass up.
“It took a special place and special people,” he said. “I’m at a time in my career where I need to make sure that whatever I do, it’s right for my family and right for my career.”
Schaefer and Stricklin first met two weeks ago, and the job was offered last week. Schaefer’s contract is for four years and will pay him $275,000 annually, plus incentives.
He said he’ll focus on his coaching staff once he’s done helping Texas A&M finish out its season.