At the Rick Ray introductory press conference Scott Stricklin said, "the goal of MSU athletics is to create great experiences for our student athletes, our coaches, our staff, our fans and alumni".
Hmmm. He didn't say the goal was to graduate students. He didn't say the goal was to win championships. The goal is to create great experiences. That's cool, I love having a good time at or while watching MSU sports. And I hope the players and coaches enjoy it too. When I put this statement into the context of other Stricklin moves and comments, I think we can get a firm grasp on how he views our athletic department.
How many times have we heard Stricklin comment that he wants to play four gimme games in football so that all we have to do is win two SEC games and we're in a bowl? You can be sure we won't be playing any BCS non-conference games while he's in charge. I'm not sure I disagree with that philosophy, but I'm not sure I'm so excited about celebrating a 6-6 season.
Before this coaching search got kicked off, Strick said that money would not hold us back. Since we paid Stansbury around $1.5 million, I'm thinking we'll spend at least that much or maybe more to get a top notch coach. Instead, he opts for an unknown assistant coach with no ties to the program, and he spends $1 million per year. Similar situation to Mullen, who got $1.2 million in his initial contract.
During the roller coaster ride of a coaching search, it appeared as though Steve Prohm and Bryce Drew simply used MSU as a pawn to get a raise. We know Prohm's raise was to $300K, Drew's couldn't have been much more than that. Was it because we were only willing to pay $1 mil? Was it because Stricklin wasn't willing to pay extra for a proven commodity?
It's pretty obvious that Stricklin is willing to take a chance on a coach as long as he has certain traits - work ethic, competitiveness, intelligence and ability to sell Mississippi State to recruits and fans. I like those traits as well, but is Stricklin simply willing to hire someone because of those traits, hoping they will be good - not caring if they're great? It seems that way.
I guess I'm okay with Stricklin's philosophy. I guess I wish he would have upped the ante to hire a proven coach, but I know chances are high Rick Ray will be pretty successful if he has the above traits. If he can provide me, and MSU fans everywhere with some good times, we'll all be satisfied. But I would like some championships, or at least some years where we have a chance at one.