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MSU hires search firm to help with hunt for new men's basketball coach


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE --¬†Mississippi State University has hired the private firm Parker Executive Search to assist in the process of filling its men's basketball coach opening. 


The Dispatch confirmed the transaction Thursday evening through sources inside school administration after MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin said it was likely the school would seek outside assistance. 


Stricklin said MSU will use a private search firm and a small circle of its administrators to gauge the interest of candidates without requesting permission from the school to interview individuals. 


"More of that is logistics-based than anything else because they can do a lot of groundwork and make connections," Stricklin said, "especially in a situation where people are playing and you want to be respectful, but you also want to put feelers out. I think sometimes, especially in basketball, that's helpful." 


Longtime coach Rick Stansbury announced his retirement Thursday, two days after his team his team lost to the University of Massachusetts 101-96 in double overtime in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament at Humphrey Coliseum. MSU (21-12) also lost to the University of Georgia in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament. 


Stansbury, the school's all-time winningest men's basketball coach, went 293-166 in 14 seasons as head coach. In all, he spent 22 years as a coach at the school. The Bulldogs made 11 postseason appearances in Stansbury's tenure, but haven't advanced to the NCAA tournament since 2009. 


Since 2009, North Carolina State, the University of Tennessee, the University of Miami, the University of Iowa, and the University of Wyoming have used Parker Executive Search firm to hire Mark Gottfried, Cuonzo Martin, Jim Larranaga, Fran McCaffery, and Larry Shyatt. 


Parker Executive Search, is based in Atlanta. Led by president Dan Parker, it has assisted 23 universities in their search for a men's basketball head coach since its founding in 1984. The University of Illinois is using the firm to find a men's basketball coach to replace Bruce Weber, who was fired earlier this month. The firm charges $90,000 for its efforts. The money will be taken from private money from the MSU Foundation. 


MSU used the Parker Executive Search firm in 2010 to help identify Stricklin as the school's 16th athletic director. The firm's website says it values confidentiality and can identify candidates for an athletics department in 10-14 days.



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