Howell sad to see son-in-law leave position at MSU


Ben Wait



In 2008, Bailey Howell received some news that was going to change his life for the time being.


No, it wasn't anything in the professional world or dealing with basketball, rather it involved a personal matter that affected he and his wife Mary Lou. The former Mississippi State basketball standout found out his son-in-law Scott Stricklin and daughter Anne were coming to Starkville.


Scott Stricklin was hired as the MSU Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs by then-Director of Athletics Greg Byrne. That meant Bailey and his wife -- long-time residents of Starkville -- got to see his two granddaughters, Abby and Sophie, whenever they wanted to.



When Byrne left for the same position at Arizona in 2010, Scott Stricklin was promoted to MSU Director of Athletics. Scott Stricklin was hired at the same position by Florida this past week.


"Of course we're sad about it for several reasons," Bailey said. "My daughter and granddaughters of course won't be in Starkville where we won't be seeing them very often. Our desire for them to stay here is of course a selfish desire you might say.


"Also another reason is I hate to see them leave is the benefit of Mississippi State that we get as formal athletes and players and alumni. He has done an outstanding job here."


Bailey, who was on vacation in Colorado this past week, said he didn't talk to Scott about his decision. He said he his wife try not to meddle in their lives and lets them make their own decisions.


Scott Stricklin, who graduated from MSU in 1992, said during the discussions with Florida, he realized it was the only school he could leave his alma mater for. He signed a 6-year contract with a $500,000 base salary with bonuses that push it to $1.076 million annually. He earned a one-time signing bonus of $150,000. He will take over for Jeremy Foley and said he plans to be at at MSU until Nov. 1


Bailey said he saw his son-in-law put in a lot of hours overseeing the 16 Bulldog sports.


"He works sort of 24/7 and you can't sustain that forever," Bailey said. "I figured that one of these days he would retire or he would be in demand for other administration jobs maybe that wouldn't be as demanding."


Scott put in his time around the country before returning to MSU. He worked as an Associate Media Relations Director at Auburn (1993-98), Assistant Athletic Director of Media Relations at Tulane (1998), Assistant Athletic Director of Communications and Marketing at Baylor (1999-2003) and Associate Athletic Director of Media Relations at Kentucky (2003-07).


Bailey, who played 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association with the Detroit Pistons, Baltimore Bullets, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, said he didn't know if Scott would ever return to Starkville.


Bailey said he has a lot of confidence in MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum and his ability to find a replacement for his son-in-law.


"I think Dr. Keenum is doing a great job for Mississippi State and he's not going to settle for a mediocre applicant," Bailey said. "Scott is not indispensable, there's other very talented individuals out there. I think Mississippi State's a very attractive job and I think they'll end up with a good man in charge of the program."


Bailey is happy for Scott, but said he and his wife will miss seeing their granddaughters on a daily basis.


"We didn't necessarily think that they would be here forever. But we were hoping for a long time to see those granddaughters grow up," Bailey said.


Follow Dispatch sports writer Ben Wait on Twitter @bcwait



Ben Wait reports on Mississippi State University sports for The Dispatch.


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