STARKVILLE, Miss. – John Cohen, the 2016 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year who guided Mississippi State baseball to its first SEC regular season championship since 1989, has signed a four-year contract extension through 2020 as head coach of the Diamond Dawgs, Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin announced on Friday.
“I am grateful for every opportunity here at Mississippi State,” Cohen said. “It’s been a tremendous journey so far, and I am excited about our future as we strive for more championships.”
In addition, Cohen has added the title of 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,” 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 has led the Bulldogs to NCAA postseason play in five out of the last six seasons, including three NCAA Super Regional appearances and a program-record runner-up finish at the 2013 College World Series. The owner of a 605-399-1 career record in 17 seasons as a head coach, Cohen is one of only two coaches in SEC history to earn SEC Coach of the Year honors at multiple schools.
Cohen’s 2016 club shattered the school record for SEC victories with 23, reeling off series wins in nine of its 10 conference matchups. Facing a difficult road schedule that included trips to Top 10 teams Florida, Vanderbilt and LSU, the Bulldogs claimed all five of their SEC road series, a feat that has only been done twice at MSU since 1992.
Cohen’s team celebrated the program’s 11th SEC regular season title and the MSU Athletic Department’s first since 2004 following a three-game sweep of Arkansas in May. The special season saw the Diamond Dawgs secure the program’s first NCAA national seed (No. 6), sweeping the NCAA Starkville Regional and reaching Super Regional play for the second time in three years.
MSU continues to be a pipeline to the pros under the leadership of Cohen, who has produced 35 Major League Draft picks in Starkville, including 13 within the top 10 rounds. A school-record 11 Bulldogs saw their names called in 2016, eclipsing the previous mark of eight in 1966. The 11 selections ranked third nationally. Five MSU players have reached the big leagues under Cohen’s watch.
Off the field, Cohen’s clubs continue to excel at a high level. MSU ranked second among SEC baseball programs in the most recent announcement of NCAA Graduation Success Rates with a mark of 91. A total of 133 Diamond Dawgs have earned the distinction of SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient in Cohen’s eight years.