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Chancellor pays visit to MSU women's basketball practice

 

Matthew Stevens

 

STARKVILLE -- Van Chancellor says the best thing about his life as a retired coach is getting to do whatever he feels like when he wakes up in the morning.  

 

Tuesday morning he felt like doing two things: seeing his friend Vic Schaefer's team practice and play the Mississippi State University golf course.  

 

The Hall of Famer accomplished the first thing on that list as he spoke to the MSU women's basketball team before their practice at the Mize Pavilion.  

 

"Vic is my old golfing buddy and he's carried me in more golfing victories than the players did when I was coaching the Houston Comets," Chancellor said.  

 

Chancellor was in Starkville Tuesday with Betty, his wife of 51 years, to take care of some personal matters in his hometown of Louisville and just decided to take his first tour of the Mize Pavilion practice facility.  

 

Schaefer has known Chancellor dating back to the nine years where he was the head coach of the WNBA's Houston Comets. Chancellor won four straight WNBA titles from 1997-2000. Schaefer would sit in Chancellor's office during cut-down day for the final roster spots seeing the game played at the highest level.  

 

"You're talking about a hall of fame coach, a legend," Schaefer said. "He's a dear friend, a dear coaching colleague. It's somebody I haven't had to go against a lot and I'm probably lucky for that." 

 

Chancellor, who was raised in Louisville and still resides in Baton Rouge, La., said he enjoys visiting certain schools around the Southeastern Conference but the 70-year-old has no desire to return to the bench full time ever again.  

 

"I might like to run practice for about 20 minutes. But I don't want to get up this morning and recruit nobody," Chancellor said. "I like to get up in the morning and have nothing to do but deciding am I going to play this golf course or that golf course." 

 

Chancellor, a Mississippi State alumnus with a masters degree from Ole Miss, also coached at Ole Miss (1978-1997) and LSU (2007-2011) before stepping down and retiring from the coaching business. The 2007 National Basketball Hall of Fame selection compared Tuesday his love for both MSU and Ole Miss as the love he has for his son and daughter.  

 

"I wouldn't say there isn't any loyalty toward the other program in this state, I mean, a man can have two loyalties. I got two children and I love both of them," Chancellor said. "It's good to be back around here and be around some great Mississippi State people." 

 

Chancellor also coached the United State women's Olympic team in 2004 to a gold medal. In the last decade of the women's game, Chancellor has noticed the physicality and athleticism change in front of his eyes as a color analyst.  

 

"Today you've got 6-foot-3 point guards. You've got kids that can jump. Women that can jump. They're more athletic," Chancellor said. 

 

With the Bulldogs being less than a month from its exhibition opener against Shorter College on Nov. 4, Chancellor said he sees similarities to this MSU squad to the Texas A&M squad where Schaefer was the assistant coach on a national championship team.  

 

"They have great pressure defense on this team and if they can keep the scores in the low 60s then they have a chance to win," Chancellor said. "You just hope this year that with them being so young that they can score enough points to win. Maybe they can generate some points with the defense." 

 

Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.

 

 

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