If you read all the stuff I wrote about firing Stansbury you might think I couldn't stand the man, but that's not the case. He was a good coach over the years, things had just gotten away from him and it was time to part ways. Now that he's retired, we can take a look back at some of the good times we had with Stans. Here are my favorite personal memories of his time at State (which all occurred while I was a student from 2002-07).
When I was a freshman (or 'freshmans' as Stans would say), I ran from my dorm to the Hump in the rain on a February Saturday to watch us play Ole Miss. Cold and wet, I cheered like never before in a game that went to overtime and resulted in a MSU victory. That game sparked my hatred of Ole Miss, and kicked it into high gear. Stansbury's dominance in the rivalry will never be forgotten. 21-8 is an amazing record, and we can only hope our next coach will come close to equaling that.
I can't exactly remember whether it was '04 or '05, but the Ole Miss game where Stans got thrown out and appeared to give the refs a 'choke' signal as he exited was awesome. I feel like that was probably '04, and State went on to stomp the Bears in that game. That's probably the most ticked off I ever saw Stans.
In 2004, my friends and I were sitting outside the doors of the Hump a couple of hours before the tip. Our butts were numb from sitting on concrete in the winter (a vital detail I'm sure you wanted to know). I guess it was a noon tip, and it was probably 9:00 A.M. or so; Meo Stansbury walked out of the Hump to give a bunch of us hot chocolate and doughnuts. That was really cool.
During that '04 season, we couldn't wait for the week's new rankings to come out. There was no twitter or facebook back then, and I guess there weren't any websites that updated the rankings first. I remember being in my fraternity bedroom/living room/glorified closet watching the 5:00 SportsCenter every week to find out how high the Dawgs were ranked that week. We had dinner at 5:30, so everyone was at the house and I still remember 10-12 guys huddled around the TV in my room...and then we talked about basketball over nasty Cisco food. Those were fun times, thanks to Stans.
After winning the SEC in '04 and getting a '2' seed, there was much anticipation for the 2005 season, especially after 1st team All-American Lawrence Roberts announced he was coming back on ESPNews. In a blunder by the MSU athletic department, they declared that members of the Rick's Rowdies would receive a set of season tickets, and good luck to the rest. Despite my distaste for the Rowdies, I joined to get the tickets. During the first meeting at the Hump (only one I went to), Lawrence Roberts fell on his neck during practice. While the leaders of the rowdies continued to talk like nothing was going on, I watched in shock as Roberts was carried away on a gurney. Luckily, nothing became of it, but I'll always remember that.
In 2005, Rick bought all the students a hot dog and a coke one Sunday afternoon game. As you can imagine, my meager checking account balance was over-joyed by this. And since my girlfriend went to the game with me, it was extra special for a cheapskate like me.
Finally, some of my favorite Stansbury phrases: "having to go on the road", "I can promise you this", and "if you had told me".
Thanks for the memories, Stans.