Can MSU Reverse the Curse of Hank Flick?


Hank Flick was the PA announcer for football and basketball at Mississippi State for 32 years, but was fired by Greg Byrne in April of 2009. His football presence was lukewarm, but his legendary call, “Welcome to the Hump foooor Hoops! For an evening of bas-ket-ball, MISSISSIPPI STATE STYLE!!” was a staple at MSU basketball games. He gave the players nick-names and really gave the job some personality.

When MSU made the 2009 NCAA Tournament Hank Flick was still the PA announcer. On April 1st, he was fired. Consider the seasons we’ve had since then…

2010 – After returning almost all of the ’09 team, State messes around and goes into the SEC Tournament off the bubble, outside the field of 64 (or 65, or 68, whatever). They make their way to the championship game against #1 Kentucky and have them on the ropes. And then this happens.

2011 – To start the year off, Renardo Sidney had to sit out the first nine games while finishing out a NCAA suspension. Dee Bost also had to sit out 14 games for pulling his name out of the NBA draft too late. Then the infamous incident in Hawaii led to Elgin Bailey leaving the team. State ended the season 17-14. No NIT or anything.

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2012 – MSU comes out firing (except for the Akron game) beating Texas A&M, Arizona and West Virginia, looking like a top team while battling top 10 Baylor and finish 13-2 in the non-conference. After a 6-3 SEC start, State lost five straight games and 6 of 8 to end the year. Stansbury was “retired” after the missing the NCAA Tournament with a team that featured two future 1st round NBA draft picks and a 4-year starter at point guard.

Rick Ray was hired on April 1, 2012 – exactly three years after Hank Flick was fired. The tailspin continued…

2013 – One of the worst seasons in MSU basketball history, finishing 10-22 with a depleted roster. The team lost 13 straight SEC games at one point.

2014 – A little better than 2013 with a 14-19 record, but still dreadful in SEC play. This team equaled their feat of losing 13 straight SEC games.

2015 – Another terrible season with a 13-19 final record. Rick Ray was fired a week after the season and Ben Howland was hired.

So, it hasn’t really been an impressive run for State since firing Hank Flick. What’s more, the atmosphere in the Hump which he was a major contributor to has deteriorated into one akin to a middle school recreational league.

In Flick’s final 20 years as the PA announcer, MSU made 9 NCAA Tournament appearances, won 3 SEC Tournaments, 2 SEC championships, 2 Sweet 16s and one Final Four. They ascended into the top 10 in three different seasons and were considered among the elite of the SEC along with Kentucky and Florida.

Ever since MSU basketball has been in bad in bad shape, but there is optimism for the 2015-16 season with a proven head coach, veteran team and 5-star freshman Malik Newman.

Next: Huddle Up for Life: In Memory of Peggy Prescott