By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Replacing Rick Stansbury might be the tallest task Scott Stricklin has been faced with during his short tenure as Mississippi State’s athletics director.
He must find the right man to replace the school’s most successful coach. Stansbury won a school-record 293 games, reached the NCAA tournament six times, and had only one losing season.
“It’s major from the standpoint that it is a high-profile sport,” Stricklin sad. “But I think it is the same process, you talk to people that know the sport, people you respect, maybe people who recently went through a search to find out.”
Stricklin, who took over as AD nearly two years ago, said he’ll seek input from within the athletic department, and he said MSU might use a search firm.
Four key characteristics
As for what kind of coach he’s seeking, Stricklin reiterated the four characteristics he cited on Tuesday when new women’s coach Vic Schaefer was introduced: charisma, competitiveness, intelligence and a strong work ethic.
Stricklin said it doesn’t matter if the candidate is a head coaching veteran or has never been a head coach before. He said he’s open to all possibilities, including Stansbury’s own assistants.
Point guard Dee Bost, who just completed his MSU career, gave an endorsement on Twitter to Phil Cunningham, who’s been a Stansbury assistant the past 12 seasons.
“There’s no timetable how long it takes until we identify whoever that is,” Stricklin said. “I don’t know, I’m just speculating, there usually are people who are still playing that you have to wait until they can finish up before you can to them. But that’s a head coach or an assistant coach.”
Stansbury said he will be fully supportive of whoever Stricklin hires.
“Whoever he hires, I promise you I’ll know him a whole lot better than he knows him, whoever it is,” Stansbury said. “He’ll get a good guy. He’ll get a coach better than me.”