May 7, 2010 7:46:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State will introduce Scott Stricklin as its 16th director of athletics at 2 p.m. today, capping the university''s month-and-a-half long search to replace Greg Byrne.
First reported Thursday night by the Clarion-Ledger, Stricklin will be promoted from associate athletic director for external operations at MSU, a position he''s held since 2008 after leaving his post as associate athletic director for media relations at Kentucky.
An MSU alum, Stricklin has numerous ties to the university. His wife, Anne, is the daughter of Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member and MSU great Bailey Howell.
Stricklin has a strong relationship with Byrne, who left last week to take over as athletic director at Arizona.
The pair worked together at Kentucky from 2003-05 when Byrne was associate AD for development and fundraising. When Byrne was named athletic director at MSU, he hired Stricklin to his staff.
Parker Executive Search Firm, hired to assist in finding Byrne''s replacement, and university president Dr. Mark Keenum cap the search near the deadline the latter tentatively set when Byrne announced his decision to head to Arizona.
On April 23, Keenum named senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer Duncan McKenzie as interim AD.
In a statement following the interim announcement, Keenum was confident someone would be in place by early May but said he was uncertain of when the hire would be able to start in Starkville.
Thought of as a potential sign of the new AD being brought in from outside the program, Parker kept a lid on the list of interviewees.
Then, 10-year North Carolina State athletic director Lee Fowler announced his resignation and had contact with MSU through Parker, the Charlotte Observer reported this week.
Turns out, MSU won''t have to wait for its new AD to fulfill duties at another job.
In Stricklin, MSU gets a hire well versed in media relations. Stricklin worked at Auburn from 1993-98 as media relations director for baseball. He then worked at Tulane before heading to Baylor, where he worked as the athletic department''s spokesman. He was part of the public relations team that handled the Patrick Dennehy murder and investigation of coach Dave Bliss'' efforts to hide how Dennehy and his killer, teammate Carlton Dotson, paid for parts of their tuition.
At MSU, Stricklin worked closely with Byrne in the hiring of head coach Dan Mullen, who went 5-7 and initiated a needed offensive turnaround in his first year in Starkville.
1. Two local nonprofits get Dutch Oil grants COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Man arrested after allegedly shooting into murder victim's home COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Local attorney invited to inauguration COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY