Rick Ray announces coaching staff moves at MSU

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

The Associated Press
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — New Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Ray has added former Nebraska assistant Wes Flanigan.

Flanigan has spent the past two seasons under Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, who was fired last month. Flanigan was an All-Southeastern Conference player at Auburn in the 1990s and before his stint at Nebraska spent time as an assistant coach at UAB, Arkansas-Little Rock and Northwest Community College in Senatobia, Miss.

Ray says Flanigan is “tough and he knows how to grind” and cited Flanigan’s experience recruiting in Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi as a major positive.

Ray also announced on Thursday that George Brooks would be retained from Rick Stansbury’s previous staff. Ray was hired as the program’s head coach on Sunday, replacing Rick Stansbury, who retired after 14 seasons leading the program.

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Also Wes Flanigan, a former All-Southeastern Conference performer at Auburn and a former member of the men’s basketball coaching staff at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, UAB and Nebraska, has been added to the staff.

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New men’s basketball coach Rick Ray has retained assistant George Brooks, MSU announced today.

Brooks, a former MSU player, has been with the program the past two years. Prior to that he was head coach at Meridian Community College for 12 years.

“I really needed someone that can point me in the right direction of recruiting in our state, and I know George is very well connected in Mississippi because of his long time as a head coach at Meridian Community College,” Ray said in a release.

In the same press release, Brooks said, “I’m just thankful I get to stay at the university I love, and one that is home for me. I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the country and continue to build on the tradition at Mississippi State.”

Brooks did not immediately return a call seeking further comment.

So, assistants Phil Cunningham, Marcus Grant and coordinator of basketball operations Talvis Franklin must move on. Grant told me that he expected to be retained and interviewed with Ray on Tuesday.

“Not only was I a coach here, I played here, was a standout player here,” Grant said. “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.”

Click here for more at Brad Locke’s Inside Mississippi State Sports Blog.