HED:Former MSU coach could be analyst for Jefferson Pilot

CATEGORY: Basketball

AUTHOR: PARRIS

HED:Former MSU coach could be analyst for Jefferson Pilot

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

Former Mississippi State basketball coach Richard Williams may not be completely retired from the game.

Williams recently completed a test tape for Jefferson-Pilot sports to determine ability and interest in a television commentary career.

Charlotte, N.C.,-based Jefferson-Pilot televises Southeastern Conference football and basketball games to a nine-state region on a syndicated basis.

“Richard did not come up here to interview for a job with us, nor did we ask him up here to interview with us,” Jefferson-Pilot executive producer Jimmy Rayburn said. “At my urging, after talking with him and hearing about his desires, I introduced the idea of a test tape. We did a test tape for him for his own personal, ‘Can I do this; Do I want to,’ questions.”

After season-long speculation, Williams made his retirement official last March. He left his alma mater as the school’s winningest coach with a 12-year 191-163 record.

His MSU legacy will be the Bulldogs’ Final Four trip in March 1996.

At the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Atlanta last March, Williams downplayed the possibility of TV work, saying he wasn’t “glib” or funny enough.

Williams did not return calls seeking comment.

Rayburn said a single test tape isn’t enough to determine a career path, but that Williams showed promise on the tape.

“One test tape won’t decide whether a person is going to be awful or good or somewhere in between,” Rayburn said. “It’s going to determine if that person has the aptitude to take it a little further, if you will, or if that person hates it totally and should just forget it.”

A test tape is the first step in any broadcast career and something Williams had to have if he has any interest at all in such a position, Rayburn said.

“No matter who he approaches and says, ‘I think I’d be good for this,’ their first words are going to be, ‘That’s great Richard, do you have a tape you can show us?’ Now he does.”