BREAKING: Mississippi State hires Louisville assistant Sam Purcell as head women’s basketball coach

(Photo courtesy of Louisville Athletics)

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- Mississippi State is hiring Louisville associate coach Sam Purcell as the new head coach of the Bulldogs’ women’s basketball program.

Purcell has spent the last nine seasons on the Cardinals’ staff. He was an assistant for his first four seasons before being promoted to associate coach in 2017. Prior to his time with the Cardinals, he spent six seasons on Georgia Tech’s staff (2007-09 as video coordinator, 2009-13 as an assistant), two with Tulsa (assistant) and five with Auburn (2000-03 as student coach, 2003-05 as video coordinator/administrative assistant). Purcell is bringing 19 years of coaching experience to Starkville.

Mississippi State decided not to retain interim coach Doug Novak, who took over that role less than one month prior to the season after Nikki McCray-Penson stepped down to focus on her health.

The Bulldogs finished the year 15-14 (6-10 in SEC play) under Novak, who lost his final six games and only had seven available players for the final month and a half of the 2021-22 campaign.

A source confirmed Purcell plans to remain on the Louisville staff for the rest of the season. The Cardinals are 25-4, 16-2 in ACC play and a projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament according to ESPN’s Charlie Creme.

Purcell is the program’s ninth head women’s basketball coach.

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