Two years removed for a Sweet 16 appearance, Mississippi State women’s basketball finds itself in a rebuilding mode, but don’t say that to new head coach Vic Schaeffer.
The long time Texas A&M assistant coach will quickly explain he isn’t in Starkville to rebuild anything, especially his basketball program.
“I have a responsibility and an obligation to the one senior I do have," Schaeffer said. "It isn’t fare to think in those terms. We are going to do everything we can to win every game on our schedule.”
The Lady Bulldogs have been hard at work since Schaeffer’s arrival and that’s something he’s been extremely pleased with.
“We got to work with them in April and we got a lot done," Schaeffer said. "They did everything we asked them to do. I love their work ethic and I love that they are very respectful kids.”
While the fighting spirit remains, the coaching staff understands they have their work cut out for them on the offensive end.
“It is not very difficult when they averaged 49 points a game in the SEC and they’ve got 12 points per game coming back,” said Schaeffer. “We’ve got five freshmen and only one senior so we’re a very young basketball team.”
No matter the challenging road ahead, Schaeffer knows exactly the blueprint to follow in order to take MSU basketball to new heights.
“I've said this at every place I've stopped on the Our State Tour, I'm not hired to bring y'all a top-25 basketball team, (but) I'm hired to bring you a top-10 program,” Schaeffer explained. “That's my goal. That's what we did where I came from. It's the only blueprint I have.”
Schaeffer’s plan requires those around the program to move forward with things and be willing to make changes to move in the direction in which college basketball is now played. Making those changes have been the biggest source of frustration since he stepped onto campus but he readily admits it is simply the process State must go through.
“There's just things that haven't been done in the 21st century – we're almost in the 22nd – there's a way to do things," Schaeffer said. "They haven't been done that way. I think that's been the big challenge for me is just knowing that we've got some things that we need to change and do a little differently. Because you know what, they're doing them that way to the left of me, to the right of me, to the south of me, and to the north of me. We need to be doing it that way, too.”
At the end of the day, Schaeffer and his staff know that Mississippi State is a special place and soon other people will see exactly what it sees.
"There is a level of respect, I don’t know, just in the coaching fraternity," Schaeffer said. "People know we will get it done and they are excited for us. People know that if we chose to be at Mississippi State, it must be a good place and it is.”