Averaging four players drafted in Major League Baseball for every year coached in college baseball, perhaps no other assistant on the collegiate level has more proven success at player development than Nick Mingione, who has been part of the Mississippi State baseball family since June 2008. Having completed his sixth season in Starkville and 13th total as an assistant coach in 2014, the current Diamond Dawg assistant has worked with 53 MLB Draft picks, coached 33 All-American Honors and developed four conference players of the year.
Along with setting MSU’s outfielders, first basemen and hitters up to have success at the next level professionally, State’s third base coach is a proven winner. Mingione has appeared in eight college regionals, won seven overall championships and overseen eight nationally-ranked recruiting classes, including two top-10 classes in both 2013 and 2014.
Mingione has won five conference championships, coached in five College World Series and has been a national championship finalist twice, the latest of which came in 2013 as the Bulldogs wrapped up the best season by any sport in the history of MSU athletics.
In 2014, Mingione helped MSU have phenomenal patience at the plate, finishing first in the SEC and 12th nationally with 273 walks. Going up against the best pitchers in the country, he helped coach the Maroon and White to second in the SEC with a .369 on-base percentage. In addition, he continued to develop the talent of Brett Pirtle, who led the league with a .363 batting average on his way to earning All-SEC honors for the second-straight year. With Mingione’s help, Pirtle then went on to be drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 2014 MLB Draft.
Mingione’s star pupil in 2013 was right fielder Hunter Renfroe, who earned All-America honors before being chosen 13th overall by the San Diego Padres in that year’s MLB Draft. Renfroe’s $2.7 million signing bonus was the largest ever given to a prospect from the state of Mississippi. Additionally, MSU’s four players chosen in the top 10 rounds were the most in 28 years, while the five All-Americans were the most in school history.
In 2012, the Bulldogs captured their seventh SEC Tournament crown as the team advanced to the NCAA Tallahassee Regional. The year before, Mingione helped coach the Diamond Dawgs to the NCAA Atlanta Regional championship, before falling one out short of the College World Series in the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional at Florida.
Before arriving in Starkville, Mingione was an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator on head coach Bobby Moranda’s staff at Western Carolina. As the hitting coach, Mingione helped direct a Catamount team which earned Top-40 national ranking among 286 NCAA Division I programs in 11 different offensive categories. Showing his skills at developing players, eight players coached by Mingione in 2008 eventually were selected in the MLB Draft.
In his first stint with MSU skipper John Cohen, Mingione served as an assistant coach at Kentucky. Despite winning 36 conference games in the five seasons before his arrival, the Wildcats won 33 SEC games in just two seasons with Mingione in Lexington. The Wildcats went from worst to first in his first year, going from 29-27 (7-22 SEC) in 2005 to 44-17 (20-10 SEC) in 2006. The season culminated in the school’s first SEC championship, giving UK its most successful campaign in the 100-plus year history of the program.
As a result, the school hosted a NCAA Regional for the first time and made an appearance in the postseason for the first time in 13 years. In all, Mingione was part of a coaching staff with Cohen that helped set or reestablish 12 school records, including single-season wins.
Working extensively with the UK outfield corps and with Wildcat hitters for two seasons, Mingione coached four eventual All-Americans and six All-South Region players. One of those All-Americans was Ryan Strieby, who was named SEC Player of the Year, marking the third-straight season Mingione had worked with a conference player of the year.
Off the field, Mingione mentored 2006 Academic All-American and current Los Angeles Angels’ star Colin Cowgill, as UK had 27 players selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in the two seasons Mingione was in Lexington.
Mingione’s SEC debut was preceded by the same amount of success he experienced as an assistant coach from 2003-05 at his alma mater, Embry-Riddle. In three years as an assistant, the Eagles went 154-36 overall (.811), won the Florida Sun Conference championship each season and went to the NAIA World Series every year, finishing as a national finalist in 2005.
In three years as an assistant in Daytona Beach, Fla., the Eagles boasted 17 all-region honors, 20 all-conference accolades and two conference players of the year. Off the field, ERU registered a school-record five NAIA All-America Scholar-Athletes in 2004.
Under Mingione’s watch, the Eagles’ defense excelled. After not having a fielding percentage above .960 in the first 11 years of the program, ERU recorded fielding percentages of .964 in Mingione’s first year (fourth all-time), .966 in 2004 (second) and a still school-record .970 in 2005. Thanks to the defense, the Eagles set a single-season school record with 53 total wins in both the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
As an assistant at Florida Gulf Coast in 2002, Mingione helped build the foundation of the program before its inaugural season in 2003, recruiting such players as Justin Stiver and Jason Louwsma. Stiver went on to become the first student-athlete from FGCU to get drafted by a major professional sports league, being taken by the Houston Astros in the 2006 MLB Draft. With Mingione having a keen eye for talent early on, Louwsma also went on to be drafted in the 2006 draft.
Born in Tarrytown, N.Y., Mingione eventually grew up in the Sunshine State and played high school baseball for head coach Scott Jones at Mariner High School in Cape Coral, Fla., before playing collegiately at Embry-Riddle.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace studies with a triple minor in business, psychology and humanities in 2000. Upon graduation, Mingione started his coaching career in 2001 as an assistant coach for his high school alma mater.
Away from the field, Mingione is a frequent traveler, from speaking engagements to mission trips, including one in late 2013 to the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. While there, he and six current and former members of the MSU baseball program joined 19 others in building houses and putting on baseball clinics for youth on the island.
Upon arriving back in the States from the Bahamas, Mingione joined the likes of Ted Williams (2002), Ron Polk (2003) Leo Mazzone (2006) and Cohen (2008) by being inducted into the “Be The Best You Are” Baseball Clinic Speaker Hall of Fame.
Mingione received the honor in January 2014 after speaking for a third year at the 41st-annual clinic in Cherry Hill, N.J. While there, he spent time sharing ideas with such baseball minds as New York Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long (2010 inductee), Yankees Director of Pitching Development Gil Patterson and former Bulldog skipper Pat McMahon (2003 inductee).
The clinic, which has been going on for more than four decades, includes “Ultimate Rap Sessions” with multiple-speakers going at one time for 25 minutes on a variety of topics. Mingione has done more than 24 different sessions in a two-day stretch.
Mingione is married to the former Christen Reeves. The couple has one son, Reeves.
THE MINGIONE FILE
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