Since Scott Stricklin was hired in 2010, Mississippi State Athletics has reached highs that most fans never thought MSU would be capable of. We saw facility upgrades for nearly every varsity sport on campus, unprecedented success in multiple sports, some most notably in the non-revenue sports, and incredible hires to run our beloved Bulldog programs. For that, I want to say thank you, Mr. Stricklin.
But let’s talk about what happens next.
Stricklin recruited some of the best coaches this campus has ever seen in their respective sports. Whether you approve of their current performance or not (cough Dan Mullen cough), Mississippi State’s sports programs are in the best position a lot of us have ever seen.
Mullen has taken MSU to six straight bowl games and took the Dawgs to their highest ranking in school history at #1 for five weeks. He was also named Coach of the Year by multiple outlets in 2014. 2017’s recruiting class is currently ranked #21 in the nation.
Vic Schaefer was SEC Coach of the Year this past season and took the women’s basketball team farther than they had ever been in the postseason. He also recruited Victoria Vivians, the Greek Goddess of Basketball.
John Cohen coached Mississippi State Baseball to one of the best regular seasons in program history last spring and won the SEC regular season crown a season after finishing dead last in the conference. He was named the 2016 SEC Coach of the Year and currently has the #8 recruiting class in the nation for 2017.
Ben Howland has been named Coach of the Year in three separate conferences (Big Sky ‘97, Big East ‘02, Pac-10 ‘06), Naismith College Coach of the Year in 2002 and has three Final Four appearances under his belt. He currently has the number #9 recruiting class in the nation.
We’re going to be okay, people.
Let’s remember where we were when Stricklin came aboard in 2010. Greg Byrne had set lots of things in motion that many of us didn’t see and it was crucial that we found the right person to come along and see them through. Today, with the current state of athletics, it’s more crucial now that we find someone what can run the system in place, and improve upon current progress, as opposed to the complete rebrand Stricklin was tasked with.
Don’t get me wrong, who we hire is going to be crucial in order for Mississippi State Athletics to reach the next step, but it’s not the end of all things Bulldogs as we know them.
We’ll be alright.