Rick Stansbury reacts after Mississippi State defeated Ole Miss last season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
There are opportunities for paths to cross in the span of 22 years.
During Rick Stansbury's tenure as a basketball coach at Mississippi State, relationships were established.
Much of that was on the mind of Stansbury Thursday afternoon as he announced his retirement from coaching the Bulldogs.
Stansbury was the head men's coach at MSU for 14 seasons and eight years prior to that as an assistant.
"I know as coaches, we are judged on wins and losses and I'm good with that, but for my wife (Meo) and myself, relationships and friendships go a whole lot deeper than W's and L's," Stansbury said. "A lot of coaches can't say that, but we can."
Two of his former players, who are now coaches, were on hand at the Bryan Building to show their support.
Noxubee County High School coach T.J. Billups, who was a guard for Stansbury's Bulldogs in 1999-2001, thought about their time together.
"I've known coach Stansbury since I was 14-years-old and he made this decision for his family," Billups said. "Knowing somebody from 14 up to 33, you feel like that he's a part of my family and I'm a part of his family."
Billups said Stansbury was a big factor in him becoming a coach at Noxubee County and was always willing to talk about the game.
"If I ever had questions, he was ready to help," Billups said.
East Mississippi Community College assistant coach Billy Begley played at MSU under Stansbury from 2004-05 and 2007-08.
Begley said one of the reasons he became a Bulldog was his desire to coach one day and Stansbury helped him progress that way.
"Coach Stansbury was one of the best to learn from," Begley said. "It's sad to see him go because it's more than just basketball. He was a father to me when my family was away. He's a great ambassador for the university and represented everything about a person that you want to be."
Coach Richard Akins was the strength coach at MSU throughout Stansbury's tenure and appreciated the freedom that was allowed for him to work with the players.
"He let you do your job," Akins said. "He wanted them in shape and wanted them strong. He didn't care how you did it as long as you got the job done.
"He was a great person out of the weight room and off the floor because he was a caring individual and was concerned about me and my family. It wasn't just a working relationship, but it was a friendship."
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