Stribling led MVS to three NCAA Tournaments

Updated: May 23, 2005, 11:59 PM ET
Associated Press

ITTA BENA, Miss. -- Lafayette Stribling, Mississippi Valley State men's basketball coach for the last 22 seasons, retired Monday night.

Stribling, who had a 315-207 record with the Delta Devils, notified athletic director Lonza Hardy Jr. in a letter that he will retire effective June 30, according to a statement issued by the school.

Mississippi Valley State was 13-15 last season, 11-7 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Delta Devils lost to Jackson State in the first round of the conference tournament.

"The entire Mississippi Valley State University family applauds Coach Stribling for his 20-plus years of service to our institution," MVSU President Lester C. Newman said in the statement. "What Coach Stribling has done for our athletics program, as well as the university in general, is phenomenal."

Stribling took over the Delta Devils in 1983 and led them to their first winning season as a Division I program. He took Mississippi Valley State to the NCAA tournament three times, most recently in 1996. Stribling coached high school basketball in Mississippi for 26 years before going to Mississippi Valley State.

"When you think of Valley basketball, you automatically think of Coach Stribling," Hardy said. "He took over a little-heard-of program in 1983 and elevated it into a respected national power. His winning ways has made him a college basketball icon."

Hardy said he hopes to find a replacement for Stribling by mid-June.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press