Last Thursday began as any other normal day for State fans but quickly turned from such as 14 year head coach Rick Stansbury announced his retirement. Rick will leave behind a solid legacy: one that saw him raise the bar for Mississippi State basketball for future coaches to come.
As a part of our Cowbell Collective series, we wanted to take time this week to reflect back on the crazy day that was last Thursday and to talk briefly about how we see Stansbury's legacy as he leaves MSU.
Q1: Although we've talked about it being a possibility for awhile, were you shocked when you saw the news Thursday morning that Stansbury was retiring?
Just1BroArguing: I actually got word about 30 minutes before it broke on twitter, so I had already gotten over the initial WOW of the moment, but, yeah, I was surprised because everything I had been hearing/reading was pointing to him staying another year.
justinrsutton: I don't think I would use the word shocked because a bit of the fan base had turned against Rick Stansbury, and the team did not have a great showing in the NIT. Once you knew there was a press conference scheduled to coincide with the start of March Madness, you knew what was happening. Anytime a longtime coach steps down though, I would say it is stunning.
This is a horrible analogy, but I would say it is like someone that you know is very sick. You are shocked when you heard they died, but the news is still jarring.
When that press conference was called, you knew what the news was. It wasn't Stricklin announcing a 4 year extension. However, that would have been the most ultimate swerve in sports/entertainment since Hulk Hogan joined the NWO.
robnoladog: Shocked? No. Surprised? Definitely. As disappointing as the season was, considering all the expectations, I still thought Stans would come back for at least one more year.The Croom Diaries: Yes. I was convinced that Stan's had let his ego get to big and he wouldn't retire. I was wrong.
thecristilmethod: I was a bit caught off guard, yes. I mean, we all knew it was coming, but I guess after the Polk deal I was just expecting another coach to hold on for as long as he possibly could.
Q2: Do you think it was a good decision for him to do so?
Just1BroArguing: yes. It had to be done. His time had run out. We gave him every opportunity to right the ship & plenty of slack with which he kind of hung himself.
justinrsutton: Stansbury had seemed tired the last couple of years, and if he really was missing his family, then yes, it was a great decision to retire. There is much more to life than basketball. It looks like he got a good deal out of the retirement. However, I think it is funny they chose that word. I don't believe that he will never be on a sideline again.
robnoladog: I think it was a great move considering everything that the program has been through over the last few seasons. It was obvious that Stansbury couldn't connect with the team anymore, and things weren't going to improve with him at the helm. I don't think Rick wanted things drag out longer and be known as a coach who was a detriment to the program.
The Croom Diaries: Yes, this is the best scenario that could have played out. Everyone is a winner.
thecristilmethod: I think it was a great decision. Coach Stansbury went out on his "own terms" and not two years too late like I was afraid he would leave. Stansbury saw the writing on the wall, he saw the mounting challenges in his own personal life, and he decided that what was best for both him and the university was to step down. I sincerely applaud his decision making and I think this way he saves face and can be regarded in a positive manner rather than negatively as a coach who held on too long.
Q3: Give us a moment in Stansbury's career as coach at MSU that sticks out to you
Just1BroArguing: I'll try to go positive, although most of my memories wouldn't necessarily bring those up. I think I'll always remember him for the "Road Warriors" team. He did a great job that year. Specifically the @Bama game that we won to clinch the league title.
justinrsutton: If you are talking on the court, it has to be winning the regular season SEC championship. Off the court, I would say it was seeing him and a few players come to Camp Rising Sun each year to visit with kids who were struggling with cancer. He never did it for the publicity. He did it for the kids. I only knew that he came out there because I was there.
robnoladog: No question, the SEC Tournament title in 2002. "We're going to the Grill!"
The Croom Diaries: I'll always remember him giving the choke signal to the ref after getting tossed at one Ole Miss game at the Hump. But most of all, I'll remember his hoarseness.
thecristilmethod: Has to be the '04 Bama game. I've witnessed some awesome things in my young career as being an MSU fan, but that was without a doubt the best one. Unreal.
Q4: Do you agree with him being allowed to stay on within the Athletic Department in an administrative role?
Just1BroArguing: Sure. Should help with the transition to a new staff. Glad there are no perceived hard feelings from him or his family.
justinrsutton: I have no problem with him staying on in an administrative capacity. I think he is well liked and respected, and I think they will find a way for him to benefit the school as he puts in the time to reach retirement in the PERS system.
robnoladog: I love the idea of keeping Rick around. I think anyone who has ever met him realizes what a great guy he is and how much he loves MSU. Also, his connections in the MS high school ranks will continue to benefit us in recruiting.
The Croom Diaries: I am really happy he can stay on at MSU. He was a great coach at State. Ultimately, I think things got unraveled, he got too comfortable, and maybe he lost the passion a little. But that doesn't mean he can't be a valuable member of the MSU family. And just because he is retiring and taking this role doesn't mean I expect him to stay there until he's 65, but it would be fine with me if he does.
thecristilmethod: I absolutely agree with it I think it's great for the University and for Rick. Rick has a great personality and I think keeping him around in an administrative capacity is a great move. Glad they were able to work that out.
Q5: What would your "thank you" letter to Rick say if you wrote one
Just1BroArguing: Thanks for setting the standard. Thanks for showing us we can win consistently. Thanks for making us nationally relevant. Thanks for the banners. But most of all, thanks for the entertainment & giving my family a reason to hate me around Christmas when we always debated your merits as our coach.
justinrsutton: I would thank Stansbury for making Mississippi State basketball a brand that expects great things. This was program that was living off of the days of Bailey Howell and one magical run as a 5 seed. Stansbury made this program more than that. I think he deserves credit for handling a bad situation with endless class. He deserves thanks for being a good person in the university and the community.
robnoladog: I'd say thanks for helping create greater expectations for our basketball program. Thanks for making the NIT a disappointing end to a season. Thanks for making me expect a solid run in the SEC tournament. Most of all, thanks for being being yourself. While your simple, good ol' boy approach to press conferences and coaching definitely irked me at times, I still appreciated it. Hell, I got a laugh out of it most of the time.
The Croom Diaries: Thanks for creating a lot of great memories with MSU basketball. Without a doubt you were our most successful coach. You were especially valuable to us fans while our football program was in the tank. So thanks Stans for some great years.
thecristilmethod: Like the other guys stated, I would say thanks for setting the bar where he did. I would say thanks for a lot of other things, including the '04 season, recruiting Dee Bost, and letting his wife lead the cheers. But seriously, I would say thanks for everything coach, and thanks for leaving MSU's basketball program better than you found it.