Dec 14, 2014; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisiana Tech Bulldogs head coach Michael White reacts to a play from the sidelines against the Syracuse Orange during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse defeated Louisiana Tech 71-69. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Stricklin sent shockwaves through the Mississippi State Bulldog fanbase earlier today by announcing he had made the decision to fire Rick Ray. There are a number of things that will be considered when Scott Stricklin gets ready to place a new coach over our program.
Does he recruit well?
Is he a good leader?
Will he make the right hires for assistant coaches?
There is one criterion that should not be considered. It’s one that most of us never give a second thought when it comes to the head coaches of our favorite teams. So what is it?
What school he graduated from?
I bring this up because Michael White, the current head coach of Louisiana Tech and former Ole Miss basketball player and alum, will be one of the candidates mentioned in the coming days as a possible replacement for Rick Ray. Michael White was the starting point guard for the Ole Miss basketball team during the Rebels’ run of success under Rob Evans and Rod Barnes. And none of that should matter if Scott Stricklin believes he is the best candidate for the job.
Michael White has the resume to be considered for the position. The program was a disaster before White showed up. Now, the Bulldogs have won 25 games each of the past three seasons. White has elevated the school to one of the best in Conference USA. If it matters to you, then your priorities are in the wrong order. You hate Ole Miss more than you love Mississippi State. If hiring a guy from Ole Miss is a deal breaker for you as a fan, you are at best being misguided and at worst being dumb for the time being.
And if you are one of the fringe who believes White would take this job strictly so he could drive it deeper in the pit of despair, you are being an idiot. If doing so wouldn’t be a career killing move for White, it would certainly set his career back at least 5 to 10 years. There is no way Michael White would purposely tank as the head coach at Mississippi State simply because he is an alum of Ole Miss. Just get that out of your head right now.
I’m not saying that Michael White should be the leading candidate or that he would even take the job if he was offered it. I just want to prepare Bulldog fans that he will be discussed as a candidate for the job, and he is a legitimate candidate. Just because he bled Red and Blue as a player doesn’t mean that his blood can’t change to Maroon and White as a coach.