STARKVILLE – Scott Stricklin is already earning his pay.
Mississippi State’s new athletics director, whose four-year, $300,000-per-year contract is up for approval by the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees today, has been hard at it since taking over for the departed Greg Byrne on May 10.
“I thought I was going at a pretty good pace,” he said Tuesday night, “but I found out there was another gear in there I wasn’t aware of.”
Stricklin has been swamped with meetings, congratulatory phone calls and e-mails, and more meetings. One of his goals this summer is to have a face-to-face with every member of the athletic department.
“From a timing standpoint, this is probably as good a time of year as you could ask for a transition like this,” he said. “Just because it gives you a few months to get everything lined up before it all starts over again.”
Stricklin still has plenty to keep an eye on in the coming months, with facilities work, coaching contracts and football ticket sales the most prominent topics on the table.
MSU has begun work on its $3.2 million track and field facility overhaul, and the basketball practice facility, which is a little behind due to poor weather, should be completed by January 2011.
Stricklin said football coach Dan Mullen should soon have his contract extended to the four-year maximum as allowed by state law. There will be no change in his $1.2 million salary, but “a tweak here and there that rewards success” will be made to his bonus structure, Stricklin said.
Speaking of football, season ticket sales are humming along. The current total is more than 36,000, which includes an anticipated 11,000 student season tickets – that’s how many were sold last year.
As of Wednesday, sales were 19 percent ahead of where they were last year, when MSU sold a school-record 40,901 season tickets.
Stricklin said he could foresee a sellout of season tickets, which would top out in the 43,000 range. Davis Wade Stadium, the second-oldest Division I-A college football stadium in the country, has a listed capacity of 55,082.
MSU set a single-season attendance mark for DWS last season with 376,544 fans.
Stansbury contract on table
n Also awaiting state board approval is men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury’s contract extension. Like Mullen, it will be set at four years, and his $1.3 million salary will remain unchanged.
Stansbury considered leaving for the Clemson job earlier this spring but decided to return for a 13th season and beyond.
– In his Wednesday blog update, Stricklin wrote that MSU expects to make about $2.5 million over the next five years from increased seat charges at Humphrey Coliseum.
Lower level seats will have an additional $150-500 charge depending on location. The extra money will go toward a new Basketball Enhancement Fund created by the Bulldog Club.
“This fund will be used to generate a budget specific to maintenance and upgrades to our basketball facilities,” Stricklin wrote.
The Hump, as it’s commonly known, was built in 1975 and has a listed capacity of 10,000.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal