By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Rick Stansbury insisted it wasn’t about the money, but about loyalty and family and friends.
With his wife, Meo, and three young sons joining him, Stansbury told the media Monday afternoon that he ultimately rejected a job offer from Clemson because of what he and his family had in Starkville.
“At the end of the day, it came down to family, doing what was best for our family,” Stansbury said. “There was no way I could walk away from what our fans and everybody’s established here for 12 years. Couldn’t do it.”
Stansbury, 50, has been in Starkville a total of 20 years, the first eight as an assistant to Richard Williams. The native of Louisville, Ky., has a career record of 255-140, has led MSU to nine 20-plus-win seasons and has made six NCAA tournament appearances.
This was the first time another school openly pursued him for a head coaching position.
“I’ve been very comfortable here,” Stansbury said. “But when another team called, I owed it to my family to listen.”
Clemson first contacted MSU Athletics Director Greg Byrne on Thursday, and Stansbury interviewed with Clemson on Saturday near Atlanta. Contract negotiations began that night, and while Stansbury would not confirm he was offered the job, sources told the Daily Journal that an offer was on the table.
There were conflicting reports about whether Stansbury’s buyout, which isn’t made public, was a sticking point during contract negotiations.
“It wasn’t about money; it wasn’t about money at Mississippi State,” Stansbury said. “I’m coming back not expecting no raise.”
But, he added, “I can say they made it very intriguing, very intriguing.”
Byrne said MSU wants to get Stansbury’s contract back to the four-year maximum as allowed by state law, but he did not say a raise would be included.
Read more in Tuesday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.