May 8, 2014 10:57:22 AM
STARKVILLE -- Rick Stansbury may find himself coaching on the visitors bench at Humphrey Coliseum.
The former Mississippi State men's basketball coach will be back on the Division I sidelines as an assistant coach. On Wednesday, multiple sources confirmed to The Dispatch that Stansbury had agreed to join the Texas A&M coaching staff as an assistant to head coach Billy Kennedy. The Aggies announced the decision Wednesday night.
"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."
Stansbury didn't return phone calls and text messages, but sources said the former MSU coach and his wife, Meo, visited College Station, Texas, last 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 said. "We feel like we've found the perfect fit here in College Station."
Stansbury has been out of college basketball since he announced his retirement on March 15, 2012, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. Since then, however, Stansbury was mentioned as a possible candidate for coaching openings at Auburn and Southern Mississippi. However, the Bulldogs' all-time leader in wins on April 23 contradicted what he called "untrue reports" about his name being associated with 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 for the 2014-15 season hasn't been announced, but the Aggies have had a home-and-home with MSU each of the first two years they have been in the league.
Stansbury was an assistant at MSU from 1990-1998 under Richard Williams. He served as the Bulldogs' primary recruiter. In those eight seasons, MSU 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 named head coach.
Recognized as an outstanding recruiter, Stansbury and staff brought five top-20 recruiting classes to Starkville from 2003-11. Rivals.com regarded MSU's 2005 class as the sixth best in the nation. His final signing class with the Bulldogs came in the spring of 2011 and was ranked 12th in the country by Rivals.com.
In two seasons at Texas A&M, Kennedy is 49-47 and 19-35 in the SEC. He has failed to produce a top-40 recruiting class, according to the ESPN.com rankings.
"I am happy 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 Rick and his family are coming to Aggieland."
Texas A&M has signed only two top 100 players, according to ESPN.com's rankings,since Kennedy took the job. Meanwhile, Texas recently received a commitment from the No. 2 player in the 2014 class -- center Myles Turner, of Bedford, Texas. Texas A&M has made scholarship offers to five players in ESPN's top 60 rankings for the class of 2015, including the class' best point guard -- Allonzo Trier, of Oklahoma City, and five-star center Diamond Stone, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Stansbury, 54, was 293-165 at MSU. He led the Bulldogs to the postseason in 11 of his 14 years (six NCAA tournaments; five National Invitation Tournaments), but he never reached the Sweet 16. His last two seasons at MSU featured a variety of issues, including teammates fighting each other in the stands, discipline issues, and no NCAA tournament appearances.
Stansbury, who served at MSU as an assistant or head coach for 22 years, accepted a retirement package through the university. Details of the deal weren't made public. His 293 career wins are the most among MSU coaches and ninth best in SEC men's basketball history.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.
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