John Cohen - Head Baseball Coach
Exactly 18 years to the day after leaving
Cohen was named to head the MSU baseball program June 7, 2008. He joins the Bulldog program following a successful five-year head coaching stint at Southeastern Conference rival
Cohen, who was named the 2006 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year and National Coach of the Year by the College Baseball Foundation and CollegeBaseballinsider.com, led the
In his five seasons at
Well-known for his ability as a hitting instructor, Cohen directed the best offensive club in the SEC in 2006, piling up a school-record 500 runs. His 2007 club hit for a stellar .320 average, just one point shy of the
The 2008 season saw the Wildcats rack up school records of highest fielding percentage (.974), putouts (1687), at bats (2157), runs scored (510), doubles (152), RBI (461), sac bunts (75), sac flies (38) and innings pitched (563).
Cohen’s exciting brand of baseball drew national attention, ranking third in the nation in home runs in 2006, third in slugging percentage, seventh in doubles, and 13th in scoring, while leading the SEC in eight offensive categories during the SEC Championship season. In 2007, the potent offense led the NCAA in on-base percentage (.437) and finished sixth nationally in on-base plus slugging.
Cohen’s emphasis on plate discipline led to school records in walks (337) in 2006 and hit by pitches (93) in 2007.
Conference and national honors were just beginning in 2006, as Ryan Strieby was named the 2006 SEC Player of the Year following a season in which he hit a team-high .343 and belted 20 home runs while driving in a school-record 77. Strieby highlighted the individual accolades in 2006 with six All-America nods, while teammates John Shelby and Sean Coughlin garnered All-SEC awards. Coughlin was also named to the Pro-Line Cap/NCBWA All-American squad after finishing the season batting .325 with 17 home runs. Another season of Cohen’s tutelage was just what Coughlin needed to increase his professional stock, as the senior backstop earned NCBWA first-team All-America honors after leading the 2007 Wildcat offense with a .344 average, 13 homers and 73 RBI. Coughlin went from a 42nd round draft pick in 2006, to a 13th round selection in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.
The individual hitting instruction from Cohen translated into a school-record six players taken in the 2006 MLB Draft, including Strieby and Shelby taken in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively. In 2007, Cohen had five players picked up in the MLB Draft, and in 2008 four
Cohen has also established himself has one of the best recruiters in the game. His 2004 recruiting class was rated as one of the top 25 by Collegiate Baseball and included one high school All-American and the 2004 Kentucky Mr. Baseball. The 2005 class just missed the top 25 finished with 151 wins - the most in any four-year stretch in school history. Cohen’s 2008 class was tabbed as the 31st best class in the nation. The Sporting News listed four of his incoming 2009 group in the top 27 high school players in the country.
Cohen has also improved
Prior to his arrival in
In 2002, Cohen's offense led the nation in hits while ranking second in batting average, runs scored and home runs. That year, Florida led the Southeastern Conference in nine team categories and set or tied a total of 41 offensive school records (20 team, 21 individual) en route to its most successful season since 1998 (46-19) and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Cohen coached consensus All-Americans Mark Kiger and Pat Osborn, each of whom batted over .400 and scored more than 100 runs. His offense was also balanced with five players hitting 10 or more home runs. Osborn won the SEC batting title and became the fourth league batting champion Cohen has coached.
In the 2003 season,
Prior to his position at
In that span, he compiled a 146-84 (.635) mark and directed the Demons to a pair of Southland Conference titles in 1998 and 2001. He was named the Southland Coach of the Year during both championship seasons.
His well-rounded clubs set 18 individual and team offensive records during his tenure, while his pitching staff set 10 school marks. The 1998 team posted the fifth-best ERA in the nation (3.82) and his 1999 team carried the nation's seventh-best fielding percentage (.967).
Excellent on the field and off, the Demon baseball team averaged 18 student-athletes per semester with grade-point averages of 3.0 or better and the 1998 and 1999 teams recorded a team GPA above 3.0.
During Cohen's time with the
Over the past five years, Cohen has also become a hot commodity on the baseball speaking circuit. In that time, he has shared his baseball knowledge with more than 100 groups across the country.
Cohen began his career as an assistant coach at
A native of
He earned first-team All-SEC honors as a senior and was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 22nd round of the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft. He spent two years in the Twins' minor league system before beginning his coaching career.
Cohen, 41, graduated high school from
He and his wife Nelle have two daughters - Jordan Baker, and Avery Lawson.
THE JOHN COHEN FILE
Birthdate: Sept. 21, 1966 in
Daughters: Jordan Baker (11) and Avery Lawson (9)
High School - Tuscaloosa Academy, 1987
College - Mississippi State, 1990 (English)
Graduate - Missouri, 1994 (Sports Management)
1990-91 - Minnesota Twins farm system
1990 - first-team All-SEC
1990 - MLB draft 22nd round-pick by Minnesota Twins
1992-97 - Missouri, assistant coach
1998-2001 - Northwestern (La.) State, head coach
2002-03 - Florida, assistant coach
2004-present - Kentucky, head coach
2006 - College Baseball Foundation National Coach of the Year
2006 - CollegeBaseballinsider.com National Coach of the Year
2006 - Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year
2001 - Southland Conference Coach of the Year
1998 - Southland Conference Coach of the Year
Year School Position Record Note
1998 Northwestern State head coach 40-20 Southland Champions
1999 Northwestern State head coach 38-21
2000 Northwestern State head coach 30-26
2001 Northwestern State head coach 38-17 Southland Champions
Cohen Playing Bio
First-team All-SEC outfield selection as a senior ... Played on four NCAA regional teams, one CWS team (1990) and three teams that won at least a share of the SEC championship. ... 1990 team was co-champs of the SEC Tournament ... Played during most successful four-year period in school history (187 wins from 1987-90) ... Ranks among Mississippi State all-time leaders in several categories; 71 games played in 1990 is a school record ... Finished his career ranked third on all-time at-bat list (785) ... 285 at-bats in 1990 was second-best single-season total in MSU history...Finished his career ranked seventh in runs scored (180) ... Finished his career ranked sixth in hits (248) ... His 95 hits in 1990 was ninth-best single seas on total in MSU history ... Finished his career ranked third in career doubles (53) ... Finished his career ranked sixth in career total bases (390) ... Ranked 10th on all-time RBI list (168) ... Selected in the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft by the Minnesota Twins ... Played on Minnesota Twins Class A Visalia team that won the California League title ... Attended Tuscaloosa Academy High School and was a three-year starter on basketball team that won a state-record 100 consecutive games.