Scott Stricklin, who succeeded Byrne two years ago, now finds himself conducting a high-profile coaching search. It's been 16 days since Rick Stansbury announced his retirement, and unlike Byrne's search - which took less than two weeks - this one has not been so swift or secretive.
There is one similarity, though: Nobody can get a solid read on who the next coach will be.
All sorts of names have rolled through the rumor mill: Bryce Drew, John Groce, Dan Muller, Kenny Payne, Steve Prohm, Scott Sutton, Sean Woods. Some have fallen off the radar, others have remained in play.
A lot of fans are becoming restless. Others preach patience. That's what Stricklin was preaching on Thursday when he sent out a statement about the search.
To review, he said there was "no deadline" for hiring a coach, and he reiterated the qualities MSU was seeking in a coach. Stricklin then thanked fans for their patience.
Will that bed down any rising panic among the fan base? Better question, should there be that much concern? It's not like 16 days is inordinately long for a coaching search. It took Illinois nearly three weeks, and it snagged Groce from Ohio.
Now, the quality of that hire can be debated for now, and Groce was not the first choice for Illinois.
The length of a search isn't so much a problem, but it could be the symptom of a problem. It suggests that the school has had trouble getting exactly the candidate it wanted.
Of course, no AD goes into a search without a list of several coaches who would fulfill all the requirements. Stricklin might have five guys he's looking at that, in his view, are equally qualified. He just has to find a way to work his way through them, so it's probably not as simple as him ranking the candidates and then making offers until someone finally accepts.
There is an undeniable tension beginning to color this search, however, and the longer it goes, the greater that tension will grow. There are five players who have signed with MSU waiting anxiously.
I asked those signees if they'd heard recently from the coaching staff. Only two players responded, with Starkville's Gavin Ware saying he'd not recently spoken with a coach, and Fred Thomas of Jackson Jim Hill saying he had.
It ultimately won't matter how long this search takes. What will define it is the quality of the hire.
And hey, if it takes three or four weeks for MSU to find just the right guy, then everybody's patience will have been rewarded.