The Argument for Saving Stansbury

Yeah, the Bulldogs just lost to Auburn. Yep, the Tigers are not a good team. I agree, Mississippi State has more talent. Totally, the Georgia loss...shameful. Coughing up a big lead to LSU....not acceptable. Chasing Rick Stansbury with torches and pitchforks? Crazy!

Anyone in a leadership position is going to experience failure some times. Let me tell you a story about one guy you probably know. He started a world war, lost more battles than he ever won, and in fact, was called a traitor by many at one point. His name? George Washington. He failed many times as a leader, but we all still revere him.

"Justin, we aren't talking about presidents. We are talking coaches," you say. Fair enough. How about this scenario?

The boss checks his email each day. All he is getting are emails to fire his coach. He reads them all, and he prints them off. He plans to respond to all of them. The season drags on, and his team is left for dead. Surely, that coach is getting canned.

However, the boss shows confidence in him, and just a few months later, Tom Coughlin has led the Giants to a second Super Bowl title in four years.

I hear your arguments, and they are valid. It is troubling that Stansbury has never guided a team out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. The problems with team chemistry the past few years are troubling. Who knows? Maybe good is getting in the way of great with this program.

I just don't think that is the case. This team has had the ability to go deep in the tournament before. The first round loss to Butler? That was bad. The upset by Xavier in 2004, which was the best team Stansbury has ever coached, not really his fault. Xavier was underseeded as a 7, and they nearly went to the Final Four. Stansbury and the Bulldogs got jobbed playing Texas in Dallas. It is not Stansbury's fault that his squad blew tournament games against Memphis and Duke because they could not hit free throws. Becoming a good free throw shooter rests on the shoulders of the players, not coaches.

No, it's not time to send Stansbury to the curb. He may still make the NCAA tournament, and this may be the team that escapes the first weekend. Even if it's not, he needs to stay.

For those wanting him gone, who would you replace him with? Who would see Mississippi State as such a better job that they would move the next day? It may not be as appealing as we all may think at times. If you come in next year, you may inherit a bare cupboard and an antsy fan base.

Overall, he is the most successful basketball coach at Mississippi State, and honestly, one of the most successful coaches, period, at Mississippi State. It feels like too many fans are caught up in the "What have you done for me lately" game.

If the season finishes as bad as it looks now, there needs to be a talk between Scott Stricklin and Stansbury. Perhaps new goals and expectations should be laid out. Either way, Stansbury should be on the sidelines for 2012-2013.

I'll go in more detail in a bi-weekly series for the five reasons to keep Rick Stansbury on the blog and on Bulldog Sports Radio.

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