Monday Morning Coffee Break

Rick Stansbury, the best kept coaching secret - at least among the national media - in the Southeastern Conference.

Mississippi State fans understand how great of a coach Rick Stansbury is but it seems the national media doesn't give him much of an after-thought when it comes to putting together their lists of the top basektball coaches in the nation.

However, maybe they should consider these facts the next time they make their list:

  • Since he has become head coach at MSU, his teams rank as the third winningest basketball program in the SEC behind only Kentucky and Florida.
  • His teams have recorded 20 or more victories in seven of the last ten years.
  • His teams have won outright or shared 4 SEC Western Division titles in the last six year.
  • His teams have made 5 NCAA Tournament appearances in the last eight years. (I'm assuming State will make it this season.)
  • Prior to the 2007-2008 season, his last six teams have averaged 22.2 wins per season.
  • During his 10-year career at MSU, his teams, with a game against LSU yet to be played, have a record of 63-43 vs Western Division opponents.

    The seven seasons of 20 or more wins take on even more significance when you consider that in the entire history of the Southeastern Conference only seven other SEC coaches have achieved more than seven 20 or more win seasons in their entire careers. And three of those were coaches at traditional power Kentucky.

    Four SEC West titles in the last six years. When you add the SEC East titles to the mix, Rick Stansbury-led teams come in first place among all SEC schools. Let me write that another way - during the last six seasons, no other school in the SEC has won as many titles as our very own Mississippi State. The closet is Kentucky with three Eastern Division titles.

    Five NCAA Tournament appearances in the last eight seasons. Only two other SEC schools have appeared in the NCAA Tournament more times during that same period - Florida 8 of 8 and Kentucky either 8 of 8 or 7 of 8. (I'm assuming Florida will make the tournament this year, while Kentucky is on the bubble.)

    Rick Stansbury-lead teams, in the last six season, have averaged 22+ wins per year. Only Florida and Kentucky have averaged more victories per season during the same time span.

    No other Western Division team has more SEC West opponent victories than Rick Stansbury-led teams' 63.

    While he's considered an excellent recruiter - in fact, many folks say he does what he does based on being an excellent recruiter, not because he's a good on-the-court coach - he's had all the above-mentioned success without having a single first round NBA draft choice during his 10-year career at State. Oh, he's recruited that kind of talent during his time as head coach at State, but they have always signed out of high school and bypassed college. With the new NBA rule in effect that stops high schoolers from jumping directly to the NBA, think how good his future teams will be with the addition of those future 1st rounders that he will sign, and, more importantly, have for at least one year.

    Maybe the more astute national media members will take the time to look at these facts and recognize that Mississippi State basketball has one heck of a head coach in Rick Stansbury.


    Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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