STARKVILLE, Miss. ( Associated Press) — Mississippi State has hired longtime Louisville assistant Sam Purcell as head coach to succeed interim coach Doug Novak.
Purcell has spent the past nine seasons with the No. 5 Cardinals, including the past five as associate head coach to Jeff Walz. Considered one of the nation’s best recruiters, talent developers and game scouts, Purcell has helped Louisville go 262-47 during his time there and 147-19 the past five years alone. The highly successful program has reached the NCAA Tournament all nine years with a Final Four appearance in 2018 among four Elite Eight and six Sweet 16 berths.
The 19-year coaching veteran said in a release that he was honored to become MSU’s coach and “thrilled” to come to Starkville. Purcell added the program “is synonymous with winning, and I fully intend to continue that winning culture. Hail State!”
Known for wearing colorful and clever suits on the sidelines, the native of Dalton, Georgia, has also worked at Georgia Tech, Tulsa and Auburn. He will continue coaching Louisville through the rest of the postseason.
MSU athletic John Cohen said Purcell had emerged as a “terrific fit to lead our program” and expressed confidence he’ll elevate the Bulldogs.
The school hired Novak as associate coach in September before promoting him to interim coach the following month after Nikki McCray-Penson stepped down for health reasons after one season. The Bulldogs finished 15-14 (6-10 SEC) and fell 83-67 to eventual champion Kentucky in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville.
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