Former Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury has agreed to become an assistant coach at Texas A&M under head coach Billy Kennedy.
May 7, 2014 5:01:47 PM
STARKVILLE -- Former Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury will be back on the sidelines in Division 1 college basketball as an assistant coach.
Multiple sources confirmed to The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog Wednesday afternoon Stansbury has agreed to join the Texas A&M coaching staff as an assistant under Aggies head coach Billy Kennedy.
"I'm excited to be a part of Coach Kennedy's staff," Stansbury said in a statement from the university release. "I've known Billy for a long time, he's a terrific coach and even better person. I look forward to helping him and his staff in any way I can."
Calls and texts to Stansbury were not immediately returned but sources did say the former MSU coach, along his wife Meo, visited College Station, Texas this past weekend to finalize the deal.
"My wife and I discussed this opportunity at great lengths and wanted to make sure we were making the best decision for our family and our three boys," Stansbury added. "We feel like we've found the perfect fit here in College Station."
Stansbury has been out of college basketball since a disappointing end to the 2011-12 season for the MSU program resulted in his retirement announcement on March 15, 2012 citing a desire to spend more time with his family. Since then however, Stansbury's name was mentioned by several media outlets for the head coaching openings at Auburn and Southern Mississippi. However, the Bulldogs all-time leader in wins contradicted on April 23 what he called "untrue reports" of his name surfacing for the current opening at Southern Mississippi.
"I have no interest in Southern Miss," Stansbury said. "It is not the right fit for me no matter what other reports have said."
The Southeastern Conference schedule has yet to be announced but the Aggies have been given a home-and-home with MSU each of the first two years they have been in the league. This would give Stansbury an opportunity to coach on the opposite sideline at Humphrey Coliseum for the first time in his career.
Stansbury was an assistant at MSU from 1990-1998 under Richard Williams with his primary responsibilities being the lead recruiting for the Bulldogs program. During those eight seasons, the Bulldogs: won the SEC regular season championship in 1991 and reached the program's only Final Four appearance in 1996. When Williams retired in 1998, Stansbury was immediately promoted to head coach by MSU administration.
Recognized as an outstanding recruiter, Stansbury and staff brought five different Top 20 recruiting classes to Starkville during a nine-year period from 2003-11. MSU's 2005 class was regarded by Rivals.com as the sixth best in the nation. Additionally, his final signing class with the Bulldogs came in the spring of 2011 and was ranked 12th in the country by Rivals.com.
It can be anticipated one of Stansbury's first assignments would be to pursue former McDonald's All-American Devonta Pollard to sign with Texas A&M's 2014 recruiting class. Pollard, who spent last season averaging 12 points and 6.4 rebounds per game at East Mississippi Community College, was a major recruiting target by Stansbury when he was at MSU and Pollard was a five-star player out of Kemper County High School. His mother, Jessie Mae Brown Pollard, was arrested and charged with kidnapping a 6-year old girl over a land dispute with the child's mother. Pollard was later charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and he left Alabama in June. Pollard testified against his mother and in exchange for his cooperation, he was given a two-year probationary period. His mother was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
In two seasons at A&M, Kennedy has compiled a 49-47 overall record including a disappointing 19-35 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Beyond the uninspiring play on the floor in A&M's first two years in the SEC, Kennedy has failed to produce a Top 40 recruiting class according to the ESPN.com rankings.
"I am happy that Rick decided to join my staff," Kennedy said. "His experience in the SEC and his recruiting ties are going to help immediately. He has won championships in this league and will help us on and off the court. I'm excited that Rick and his family are coming to Aggieland."
A&M has signed only two Top 100 player according to ESPN.com's rankings since Kennedy took the job while Texas just picked up a commitment from the No. 2 ranked player in the 2014 class in center Myles Turner from Bedford, Texas. A&M has offers on the table to five players in ESPN's Top 60 rankings for the class of 2015 including the class' best point guard Allonzo Trier from Oklahoma City and five-star center Diamond Stone from Milwaukee, Wis.
Stansbury, now 54 years old, compiled a 293-165 record, at the time the ninth-most wins in Southeastern Conference history. MSU reached the postseason in 11 of Stansbury's 14 years (six NCAA Tournament; five NIT), but has never reached the Sweet 16. However the last two seasons were the most troublesome as they included teammates fighting each other in the stands, discipline issues and no NCAA Tournament appearances.
Stansbury, who served at MSU as either an assistant or head coach for 22 years, accepted a retirement package through the university where the details were not made public. His 293 carer wins are not only the most among MSU coaches but also ninth in SEC men's basketball history.
Stansbury acknowledged during his retirement press conference he wasn't sure if he'd be making the decision to walk away if MSU could've salvaged the 2011-12 season into the school's first at-large berth in the NCAA tournament since 2008. He also left the door at least slightly open to the potential possibility of him returning to coaching at some point in his career.
"I can tell you this - it's not about being tired....you see guys spend their whole lives at universities and they leave so negative (and) I don't want to do that," Stansbury said. "I want to go out while we're still great. Meo and I are 100 percent at peace."
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