By JOEL COLEMAN
It appears Mississippi State head baseball coach John Cohen will turn to a familiar face to fill the recently-vacated pitching coach spot on his staff.
A source told the Starkville Daily News on Thursday that former Kentucky head coach Gary Henderson is nearing a deal to become MSU’s pitching coach. Henderson would fill the void created when Wes Johnson left the Bulldogs to join the Arkansas program earlier this week.
Henderson is extremely familiar with Cohen. While Cohen was the head coach at Kentucky from 2004-2008, Henderson served as the pitching coach and associate head coach. Henderson then was promoted to Kentucky’s head coaching position when Cohen left for Starkville.
Henderson resigned at Kentucky following this year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament after the Wildcats failed to make the NCAA Tournament.
“We’ve just completed five consecutive 30-plus win seasons, for the first time in Kentucky baseball history, and we’ve competed in two NCAA regionals,” Henderson wrote in an open letter posted on June 1. “That said, it is 100% my decision to resign at this time, based in part because the results don’t meet my expectations.”
Later in the letter, Henderson expressed gratitude to Cohen for believing in him.
Cohen and Henderson experienced great success together during the pair’s time together in Lexington. Cohen earned the SEC’s Coach of the Year Award in 2006 as the Wildcats won the SEC with a 44-win season. Two years later, Kentucky matched its school-best 44-victory campaign.
During that 2008 season, Henderson guided the Wildcat pitching staff to an SEC-best 3.71 team earned run average. Cohen and Henderson also teamed up to help Kentucky secure the nation’s No. 4 recruiting class in 2008.
Cohen filled the other hole on his coaching staff from within.
After Nick Mingione left MSU earlier this week to fill Henderson’s shoes as the head coach at Kentucky, a source confirmed the Bulldogs plan to fill Mingione’s old role with Will Coggin, who served as State’s coordinator of baseball camps last season.
Coggin joined Mississippi State as a coach last August. Prior to then, he served as an assistant coach for three seasons at St. Johns River State College in Florida. That followed four years as a student assistant at MSU, where Coggin also played as a middle infielder in 2007 and 2008.
Hudson earns another honor
The honors keep pouring in for Dakota Hudson.
On Thursday, Mississippi State’s ace hurler was named as an All-American on D1 Baseball’s Third Team. The award is the fourth All-American mention that Hudson has received along with Second-Team selections from Baseball America, Louisville Slugger and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Hudson’s right arm helped lead the Bulldogs to the Southeastern Conference regular season championship in 2016. The junior boasted a 9-5 record and a 2.55 ERA. He struck out 115 batters in a team-high 113 innings of work.
Hudson’s dominance allowed him to become just the 13th player in MSU history to be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft. The St. Louis Cardinals picked Hudson with the 34th overall selection in the draft last week.