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SMITH COLUMN: Stansbury was about great class

March 15, 2012


Yes, Rick Stansbury is the winningest men's basketball in Mississippi State history with 293 victories.

Yes, Stanbury has helped the Bulldogs to the postseason 11 times, including six trips to the NCAA Tournament.

In terms of championships, Stansbury has those also. He coached MSU to five Southeastern Conference Western Division banners, one overall SEC crown and two conference tournament titles.

All of that and so much more were the accomplishments of Stansbury during his 14-year career as the head coach of the Bulldogs.

More than milestone wins or championship rings, what made Stansbury great was the class and dignity he went about making those things happen.

Stansbury announced his retirement as coach on Thursday at the Bryan Building and handled, what had to be a very emotional moment, the same way.

As with many current and former MSU coaches, they developed a special bond with players and people. Stansbury spent much of the time during Thursday's press conference thanking those who supported him over the years.

Stansbury said the decision to retire was to become a better family man. He has three young sons and wants to spend more time with them.

As the father of two girls myself, this move can be appreciated because nothing is more important than family.

Stansbury has given up seeing special moments with his boys over the years for the sake of coaching. He will try to make up for some of that now.

He gets the chance to fish with them at their Browning Creek home. He gets the opportunity to attend their soccer matches and Starkville Area Youth basketball games. It's time for Stansbury to become a full-time dad.

There may come a day when Stansbury misses coaching enough to get back into the business, but don't expect that to come soon.

Stansbury may never admit it publicly, but the stress of the last two seasons took its toll and probably was a factor in his decision to retire.

Even though the Bulldogs won 20 games and reached the postseason once again, there was a negative cloud cast over the season for various reasons that are not appropriate to go into here.

MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin now begins the process of finding the 19th coach in MSU men's basketball history.

It will be difficult to find someone with a more caring attitude than what Stansbury had the last 14 years.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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