MSU's hiring of Howland chosen SDN sports story of year

MSU men's coach Ben Howland
Staff Writer

Mississippi State wanted a basketball coach that could lead the men's program back to national prominence.
In the three seasons under coach Rick Ray, the Bulldogs did not reach the postseason.
MSU was eliminated in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament in Rick Stansbury's final season.
The Bulldogs haven't made the NCAA Tournament since 2009.
When it came to finding the 20th coach in school history, MSU turned to a proven winner in Ben Howland.
Howland, who took the UCLA Bruins to three-consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances, was hired by MSU in March.
The ability of the Bulldogs to get a coach with the reputation of Howland was chosen as the top sports story of 2015 by the Starkville Daily News staff.
"Ben is someone who is ready to invest in the people of Mississippi and Bulldogs everywhere, while bringing championship basketball back to the Hump," MSU Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said when Howland was hired. "Mississippi State can compete at the highest level, just as several of our other teams have done in recent years, and I'm excited to have coach Howland lead us back to that level."
For more on the SDN's Top 10 Sports Stories for 2015, see the story by sports editor Danny P. Smith in Wednesday's edition.