Earlier this afternoon Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports broke the news that Mississippi State was set to hire Clemson Assistant Coach Rick Ray as our new head basketball coach. Many of us were left bewildered, as we had only been hearing the names Payne, Dooley and Kirby released in the most recent days. As information travels these days, the hire was confirmed shortly thereafter via twitter by MSU AD Scott Stricklin, and soon after that this official statement was released from the school:
"Rick fits the model of head coach we have sought to bring into our program over the last several years," Stricklin said. "He is bright, enthusiastic, disciplined and is a man of integrity. He has served with some of the top head and assistant coaches in college basketball and will bring a piece of all of them to our head coaching position."
Ray has been a part of NCAA post-season play at three different institutions. He comes to Mississippi State from Clemson, where he was Associate Head Coach to Brad Brownell for the past two seasons. Prior to arriving at Clemson, Ray spent four successful years on the staff of Matt Painter at Purdue. Ray began his Division I coaching career at Indiana State, where he served for seven seasons.
"Rick Ray is an outstanding choice to lead our men's basketball program," MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum said. "Once our fans meet him, I know they will share the same sentiment. I am impressed with his basketball philosophy and the vision he has articulated for taking Mississippi State basketball to a higher level. Rick has been successful everywhere he has coached. He is a winner and has a solid plan to put his brand on the program that will reflect the highest standards of integrity and accountability."
"I also want to commend Scott Stricklin for the extraordinary work he put into finding the right fit for our basketball program," Keenum added. "He has done just that. He was thorough and deliberate and has brought in an exceptional individual to lead Mississippi State basketball into the future."... (read the rest of the statement from HailState.com here)
A press conference has also been set for tomorrow morning at 10:30am to officially announce Coach Ray as the 19th head basketball coach in MSU history. Those that cannot attend are invited to join along and watch on HailStateTV
Stay tuned to For Whom the Cowbell Tolls tomorrow and in the upcoming days as we bring you updates, opinion and analysis on the hire.
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