Can Scott Stricklin Convince a Proven Head Coach to Take the Job at MSU?


Feb 28, 2015; Columbia, SC, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Craig Sword (32) drives against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second half at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Stricklin is a salesman, right? His bread and butter is marketing, and he’s done a tremendous job of that at Mississippi State. He knows how to get our “brand” out there, and he’s always putting MSU’s best foot forward in interviews and speaking engagements. Stricklin does a great job of selling MSU… fans.

Pretty much every aspect of Stricklin’s tenure has been a resounding success, except hiring Rick Ray. From football stadium expansion to future building projects to athletic success – you name it, it’s been good under Strick. Except Rick Ray. And now he’s taken steps to amend that mistake by moving on from that era of basketball.

The question of this coaching search will be: can Stricklin sell MSU to a proven head coach?

Not an assistant coach – a head coach.

Here are the head coaches Scott Stricklin has hired in his first four years as athletic director:

  • Vann Stuedeman (softball)
  • Vic Scaefer (women’s basketball)
  • Rick Ray (men’s basketball)
  • Aaron Gordon (soccer)
  • Matt Roberts (men’s tennis)

Common denominator: they were all assistant coaches.

More from Mississippi State Basketball

But then something different happened when in search of a new volleyball coach last fall: Stricklin hired the head coach of Central Arkansas, David McFatrich, as MSU’s new head coach.

He has mentioned in the past that assistant coaches can prove to be a good value. After all, you don’t have to pay them as much and may get just as good of results. That’s not a very bold strategy (or maybe it is since it could cost him his job). It’s also one that not many other SEC schools want to take. Are we sitting at the big boy table or not?

Will the volleyball hire be a sign of things to come – that Mississippi State is looking for proven coaches rather than taking chances with assistant coaches?

I don’t think there’s any doubt it’s better to hire a proven head coach. But are we willing to pay for one, and perhaps more importantly: can Stricklin sell Mississippi State enough to convince one to come to Starkville and take over the basketball program?

This hire is all on Scott Stricklin. He mentioned yesterday that he will be flying solo on this hire:

"I’ll probably do a lot of this on my own. I have a great staff and I’m going to rely on them for a lot of the time. I don’t anticipate us using a search firm. I think we have enough contacts and know the lay of the land enough that I won’t have any problems getting in contact with anyone."

Good luck, Strick. Go out and get us a good one.