Reports: Mississippi State Basketball Head Coach Chris Jans Interviewing for Arkansas

Reports have surfaced that the Bulldogs' head coach is interviewing for the same position at a SEC rival.
March 21, 2024, Charlotte, NC, USA;  Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Chris Jans reacts against
March 21, 2024, Charlotte, NC, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Chris Jans reacts against / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night was not fun for Mississippi State fans. Baseball lost to Georgia following a controversial and largely incompetent review and subsequent ejection of several players. Then shortly after that game went final, news came out that no State fans wanted to hear.

Arkansas interviewing Chris Jans for head-coaching vacancy

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, head Mississippi State men's basketball coach Chris Jans is set to interview for the vacant head coaching job at Arkansas. On April 4, Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman left Fayetteville to become the next head coach at USC.

There was heavy speculation that Ole Miss head coach Chris Beard would be leaving the Rebels after just one season to take over at Arkansas, but he withdrew himself from consideration on Friday to remain in Oxford. Kansas State head coach Jerome Tang was another rumored candidate, but he too pulled himself out of the running on Friday.

With Arkansas' top two candidates off the board, they are now having to explore other options, and it seems as though they've settled on Chris Jans as a potential hire.

Chris Jans just wrapped-up his second season as Mississippi State basketball's head coach. He led the Bulldogs to 20+ wins and NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his first two seasons, the first coach in MSU basketball history to achieve those feats.

Prior to coming to Starkville, Jans was the head coach at New Mexico State. In five seasons in Las Cruces, he led the Aggies to four conference titles, three NCAA Tournament appearances, and a 2022 NCAA Tournament victory over UConn.

Losing Chris Jans would be a painful blow to Mississippi State basketball

There's no need to sugarcoat it. If Chris Jans were to leave for Arkansas, it would be crushing to Mississippi State basketball. Despite early exits in the last two NCAA Tournaments, excitement around Bulldog hoops is the highest it's been since the peak of the Rick Stansbury-era.

Chris Jans has injected life into the program, getting State fans to rally around his teams after years of apathy. With a stadium renovation and strong NIL support, there's real momentum to get MSU back to being a potential SEC contender in the coming years.

Losing Jans to a SEC rival would at a minimun put a halt to that positive momentum, and it's possible there'd be a total reset. What would players like Josh Hubbard and Cam Matthews, who have committed to return under Jans next season, do? And would fan support stay strong? Bulldog fans are quite fickle when it comes to supporting basketball. Would apathy immediately set back in?

It's paramount that Zac Selmon and the athletic department do whatever is necessary to keep Jans in Starkville. Hopefully, this is merely a leverage move for a better contract at State, and nothing comes of it.