STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State men’s basketball coaching search process hit the two-week mark Thursday on a confusing note.
MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin released a statement Thursday that, according to sources connected to the search, was intended “to calm the troops” and instill confidence in a fanbase that wants to know why the process has dragged on so long.
Stricklin’s comments, which were introduced on his Twitter page, were the first public comments from the school’s highest athletics officer since he talked earlier this month following the retirement announcement by former MSU men’s basketball coach Rick Stansbury.
“Like Bulldog fans everywhere, I eagerly anticipate the hiring of Mississippi State’s next men’s basketball coach,” Stricklin said in his statement. “However, from the beginning of this process, no deadline has been imposed on the search. It’s important we hire the right candidate to lead our program, a person of integrity who will instill discipline, character, and accountability into the men’s basketball program at Mississippi State. Thank you for your patience. Hail State!”
Stricklin’s statement was released minutes after CBSsports.com reported Vanderbilt University men’s basketball assistant coach Dan Muller is the latest candidate for the opening.
Stricklin’s statement is another instance in which he has responded to fan unrest. Following Stansbury’s retirement announcement March 15, Stricklin opted not to name an interim head coach, and said he would be the one possibly to contact recruits and current players to keep them informed about the process.
“The message there is to ask for patience while we’re going through this process and Mississippi State is still a great school, we’ve got great facilities, and we compete in a great league,” Stricklin said March 15. “We’re going to hire a great coach. Be patient until we get through this process.”
Muller is the latest candidate to surface after several names have been mentioned. Murray State University coach Steve Prohm and Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew also have been linked to the MSU opening, but reportedly pulled out of the search or turned down MSU. Both coaches received contract extensions to stay at their schools.
Stricklin is still expected to interview candidates at the Final Four in New Orleans, the site of the annual coaches’ convention.