There will be a TON of talk about former MSU men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury in the days to come both here and on other MSU sites, but let's take a minute to talk about what happened today and take a quick look at what Rick Stansbury did for Mississippi State.
When we all awoke this morning, I doubt many of us, outside of those in the Stansbury home and Stricklin home, knew that this was coming. Sure this season has been a disappointment and many of us felt that it was time for Rick to step down, but I know personally I didn't expect this to happen, at least so soon. Nevertheless at 9:59 a tweet by Bulldawg Junction manager Michael Wardlaw sent us all reeling:
I have been able to confirm MSU is working out the final details in a retirement package for Rick Stansbury. There could be a presser as...— TheJunction (@TheJunction) March 15, 2012
Instantaneously those of us that blog, tweet and text went scrambling for our phones, laptops, tablets to share with friends and family the news we had just heard. I saw the tweet as it went out, and within the 10 minutes it took me to get our report up here I got back on twitter to see that the dam had broken: everyone was confirming the news and MSU basketball media relations director Gregg Ellis announced a 1PM presser.
WOW was the best way to sum it up. For so long we had expected it, and now it was here.
Then came the press conference: an emotional event that reminded us the man we wanted gone was just that: a man. He wasn't just a coach, he was also a father, a husband, a guy who puts his pants on every morning just like you and me: one leg at a time. It's easy to forget things like that when you get caught up in wanting a change, but we did forget nevertheless.
But let us not forget the good that Rick Stansbury has done for this university and this town. In his 14 years of coaching he took Mississippi State to a level where we expected the NCAA Tournament. Do you know how much of a luxury that is? I know I had taken it for granted.
In his 14 years as coach, Rick brought to our attention some of the best players this university has ever seen: guys like Jarvis Varnado, Dee Bost, Timmy Bowers, and Winsome Frazier. In 2004 Rick Stansbury brought us an SEC regular season championship: something we had not captured outright since 1963. He coached some of the most exciting moments I can remember as a Mississippi State fan, like this one in 2007:
MSU Kentucky SEC Tourney 2007 (via ugobabyugo)
There are so many more things we can say about Rick: how great of a man he was, how down to earth and genuinely friendly he was with people around town. Those things will come in the days down the road, but for right now, after what has been a crazy day and one of the bigger days in the history of Mississippi State sports, let's just leave it at this:
Rick Stansbury left Mississippi State a better place than when he found it.