By JOEL COLEMAN
It has been an offseason of assistant coaching changes and roster turnover for the Mississippi State baseball program. That didn’t stop head man John Cohen from re-upping with his alma mater however.
MSU announced on Friday that Cohen has signed a four-year contract extension with the school. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The deal runs through 2020 for the man who won this year’s Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year award after leading the Bulldogs to their first SEC regular season title since 1989.
“I am grateful for every opportunity here at Mississippi State,” Cohen said in a school release. “It has been a tremendous journey so far, and I am excited about our future as we strive for more championships.”
Cohen’s new contract with Mississippi State also adds an additional title to the veteran skipper. Cohen is now also an Associate Athletic Director.
“In addition to being a successful baseball coach, John has been a valued resource for our entire department in my six years as athletic director,” MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin said. “During our conversations he has indicated an interest in working in administration once he has finished coaching – which I expect will be a long time from now. John’s focus will remain on coaching Bulldog baseball, but because of his passion for Mississippi State, he will also be an invaluable asset to the administrative team on issues that directly impact our student-athletes and coaches.”
Cohen just wrapped up his eighth season at Mississippi State when the Bulldogs were eliminated in Super Regional play by Arizona, leaving MSU just two wins shy of a trip to the College World Series. Cohen’s 2016 team broke the school record for SEC victories with 23 as the team won nine of its 10 league series. Such success led to State’s first-ever national seed.
Under Cohen, State has reached NCAA postseason play in five of the last six seasons. In that time, the Bulldogs have advanced to three Super Regionals. In 2013, Cohen’s club fell two wins shy of a national championship as the Bulldogs settled for a national runner-up finish.
Cohen’s impact at MSU has gone far beyond all the winning. Playing for the Bulldogs has become a stepping stone to professional baseball. Cohen has developed 35 Major League Baseball Draft picks in Starkville with 13 of those being selected in the first 10 rounds.
Last month, a school-record 11 Bulldogs heard their names called in the draft.
A total of five MSU players have reached the big leagues under Cohen’s guidance.
In the classroom, Cohen’s teams have also found success. MSU ranked second among SEC baseball programs in the most recent announcement of NCAA Graduation Success Rates.
MSU has had 133 players earn the distinction of being an SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient in Cohen’s tenure.
Cohen will attempt to keep the good times rolling at State both on and off the field as he prepares for what will be his 18th overall season as a head coach in 2017. Cohen boasts an overall career record of 605-399-1. He’s also had head coaching stops at Northwestern State and Kentucky, where Cohen also earned the SEC Coach of the Year award in 2006.
Cohen is one of just two coaches in SEC history to earn SEC Coach of the Year honors at multiple schools.