June 26, 2018 10:42:06 AM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State has its next baseball coach.
MSU will soon hire Indiana coach Chris Lemonis to be its next baseball coach, The Dispatch has learned, confirming the first report by Kendall Rogers, of D1baseball.com. Lemonis just finished his fourth season leading the Hoosiers.
An additional source told The Dispatch that players were working on scheduling exit interviews but have been called to a team meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Rogers reported Lemonis will keep assistant coach Jake Gautreau. The Dispatch was unable to confirm that part of the report at press time.
Lemonis has led Indiana to a 139-88-2 record in his first stint as a head coach. Indiana has made the NCAA tournament in three of his four seasons, but it hasn't advanced beyond a regional. Indiana went 55-37-1 in Big 10 Conference play under his leadership.
Lemonis spent 12 years as an assistant coach at The Citadel, his alma mater, and eight at Louisville, all under Dan McDonnell, who was previously a candidate for the MSU job. In his years at Louisville, the Cardinals went to the College World Series three times and appeared in one Super Regional. Louisville made the NCAA tournament in all but one year.
Lemonis also was a player on the 1990 The Citadel team that made it to the College World Series.
Lemonis is well versed in taking over programs accustomed to success. When he joined The Citadel coaching staff in 1995, the program was coming off a NCAA tournament appearance in 1994 and hadn't had a losing season since 1987. Lemonis coached under Fred Jordan, who won 831 games in 26 years and took The Citadel to the NCAA tournament seven times.
Lemonis took over at Indiana after Tracy Smith left for Arizona State. Smith led Indiana to the 2013 College World Series and two more NCAA tournament appearances.
This is the first time in the history of the MSU baseball program, dating back to 1885, that it has had four head coaches in a four-year span. John Cohen, now the school's director of athletics, coached the 2016 season before moving into athletic administration the following November. Cohen hired Andy Cannizaro, who coached the 2017 team to the Baton Rouge Super Regional. Cannizaro resigned in February, three games into the 2018 season. Gary Henderson, the team's pitching coach, took over as interim coach.
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