Entering the first open period of July just one head coaching position remained open at the Division I level: Mississippi Valley State. With the Delta Devils having fired Chico Potts back in March, the news that was first reported back in May became official on Friday afternoon as Andre Payne was introduced as the new head coach.
Payne arrives in Itta Bena with both head coaching and administrative experience, as he spent the last eight seasons as the head coach and associate athletic director at Wiley College in Texas. Payne left the NAIA school with a record of 146-104, with Wiley finishing the 2013-14 season with a 25-7 record.
“My plan is simple: recruit student-athletes who want to be here. Recruit student-athletes who want to call this place home, that’s what I plan to do,” Payne said in the release. “We want guys who are committed to their education. We want guys who are committed to being superb athletes. And we want guys who are committed to having a great social life on campus, too.”
Since Sean Woods left Mississippi Valley State to take the head coaching job at Morehead State in 2012, the Delta Devils have struggled to build on their trip to the NCAA tournament in Woods’ final season at the helm. Under Potts, MVSU won a total of 14 games, finishing the 2013-14 season with a 9-23 overall record (5-13 SWAC).
Mississippi Valley State returns two of its top four scorers from last season in guards Jeffrey Simmons (10.6 ppg) and DeAngelo Priar (10.5), and they’re adding four newcomers to the program. Those newcomers will be asked to help account for the departures of leading scorer Anthony McDonald (11.9 ppg) and leading rebounder James Currington (10.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg).