Starkville, MS (SportsNetwork.com) - Mississippi State fired men's basketball coach Rick Ray on Saturday after just three seasons.

Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin made the announcement in a news release, saying the Bulldogs haven't progressed on the court the way the school hoped they would.

"This has been a difficult decision, as I have the utmost respect for Rick, and am highly appreciative of the effort he put forth in leading our basketball program," Stricklin said.

"To Rick's credit, we have seen great strides from our student-athletes in several areas, including academics. However, the on-court results have not been satisfactory. In order for MSU to achieve success at the levels to which we aspire, I believe that a change is necessary at this time."

Ray was hired in April 2012 after two years as an assistant at Clemson. He replaced Rick Stansbury, who retired after 14 seasons as Mississippi State coach.

The Bulldogs were 36-60 during Ray's brief tenure, including 12-19 this past season.

Stricklin said the search for a new coach would begin immediately.