April 24, 2014 8:13:55 AM
STARKVILLE -- Rick Stansbury has heard and seen the reports he is a candidate for the job of men's basketball coach at Southern Mississippi. The former MSU men's basketball coach told The Dispatch on Wednesday he won't pursue the opening in Hattiesburg.
The Dispatch reported earlier Wednesday that multiple sources close to the situation said Stansbury wasn't involved in the search at Southern Mississippi.
"I have no interest in Southern Miss," Stansbury said Wednesday. "It is not the right fit for me no matter what other reports have said."
Sources close to Stansbury and the search process at USM confirmed Wednesday the Bulldogs' all-time leader in wins "has no interest" in replacing Donnie Tyndall, who was introduced Tuesday as the new men's basketball coach at Tennessee. Stansbury's name also was mentioned as a possible successor to Tony Barbee at Auburn. The Tigers hired former Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl last month.
Tyndall agreed to a six-year, $1.6 million deal, according to CBSSports.com. Tyndall went 56-17 (25-7 in Conference USA play) and reached the NIT quarterfinals in two seasons at Southern Miss. Prior to coming to Southern Miss, Tyndall was the head coach at Morehead State, his alma mater, for six seasons. His team upset No. 4 seed Louisville in the NCAA tournament.
CBSSports.com College Basketball Insider Gary Parrish reported Wednesday USM may be interested in Stephen F. Austin coach Brad Underwood to replace Tyndall. Underwood went 32-3 overall and 18-0 in the Southland Conference in his first season as a Division I head coach. Stephen F. Austin advanced to the Round of 32 of the NCAA tournament by defeating Virginia Commonwealth in its opening game. According to ESPN's Andy Katz, Underwood was offered the job at Marshall, but he decided to withdraw himself from consideration.
Parrish also reported Stansbury as a backup candidate for USM. CBSSports.com sources confirmed his interest in the Golden Eagles' opening. Stansbury refuted that report.
"I have already seen reports where I'm highly interested in USM job," Stansbury said. "I don't know where they got it from. It's not the truth."
Stansbury, 54, was 293-165 at MSU. At the time of his retirement on March 15, 2012, he had the ninth-most wins in Southeastern Conference history. Stansbury led MSU to the postseason in 11 of his 14 years (six NCAA tournaments, five National Invitation Tournaments), but he never reached the Sweet 16.
Stansbury, who served at MSU as an assistant or head coach for 22 years, accepted a retirement package through the university. The details of that deal weren't made public. When he announced his retirement, he cited a desire to spend more time with his family. Since that retirement he hasn't interviewed for a current opening with a Division I school.
After the conclusion of the 2009-10 season, Stansbury was approached and offered a contract close to $2 million per year by Clemson. Last week, Stansbury told The Dispatch his decision to turn down the offer "had nothing to do with basketball."
"I made a decision two years ago and (people) couldn't believe why I was staying," Stansbury said. "The same reasons still exist today. My love for this university and my love for you people."
Stansbury acknowledged during his retirement press conference he wasn't sure if he would have left the school if MSU could've salvaged the 2011-12 season and earned its first at-large berth to the NCAA tournament since 2008. He also said the was a possibility he would return to coaching.
"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 (his wife) and I are 100 percent at peace."
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.
1. New Hope turns to Olsen to return soccer program to prominence HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS