Associate head coach Butch Thompson, a native of Amory, Miss., is in his fifth year on John Cohen's baseball coaching staff at Mississippi State University.
Thompson, in his 12th season of coaching in the Southeastern Conference, coaches pitchers and is heavily involved with the recruitment of future MSU baseball players. He joined the MSU coaching staff in June following a three-year coaching stint at Auburn and was named associate head coach following the 2012 season.
Thompson's Bulldog moundsmen compiled the nation's second-lowest staff earned run average in 2012 --- 2.58, the best at State since 1973, and ranked third in the Southeastern Conference with 536 strikeouts. MSU hurlers starred as State won five games over a six-day span to capture the 10-team SEC Baseball Tournament championship and advance to NCAA postseason play for the 32nd time. The 2012 MSU mound staff featured 14 pitchers hitting 90 miles per hour or better in a game and nine hurlers registering earned run averages of 3.00 or less. Leading that group was rookie Jonathan Holder (0.32), who allowed one earned run and set a school mark for consecutive scoreless innings pitched en route to 2012 Freshman All-American honors,.
In 11 seasons as a pitching coach in the rugged Southeastern Conference, Thompson has seen 28 of his pupils selected in the Major League Baseball draft, including 2012 draft selections Kendall Graveman, Nick Routt, and first-round pick Chris Stratton. Since 2003, eight of Thompson's recruiting classes have attained top 20 national ranking by either Collegiate Baseball or Baseball America.
The 20-year coaching veteran and native Mississippian is regarded as one of the nation's top pitching instructors. One of his pupils, Chris Stratton, a 2012 consensus All-American, became the first Bulldog pitcher accorded Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year honors and the 11th Bulldog selected in the first round of Major League Baseball's annual draft. The All-SEC performer ranked first or second in the league and among the nation's leaders in wins, strikeouts and earned run average. Two other Diamond Dog pitchers coached by Thompson, 2012 draft selection Nick Routt and relief ace Caleb Reed, have also received all-conference honors.
Over the past four years, Bulldog pitching has made a swift advancement in the rugged Southeastern Conference. State pitchers ranked as the league's most improved in 2011 after shaving 2.50 points off its staff ERA as the Bulldogs came within a win of the program's ninth berth in the NCAA College World Series. And in 2012, led by Stratton and a host of young hurlers, the Diamond Dog pitchers claimed the top spot in the SEC.
Thompson prepped at Amory (Miss.) High School and later starred as a pitcher at Itawamba (Miss.) Community College for Coach Roy Cresap in 1989 and 1990.
He continued his baseball career the next two seasons at NAIA power Birmingham-Southern, where he helped lead the Panthers, coached by former Mississippi State assistant Brian Shoop, to back-to-back Southern States Conference championships. Daron Schoenrock, who would later serve as an assistant coach at State and head coach at the University of Memphis, coached the pitchers on Shoop's BSC staff.
It would be the first of Thompson's three career affiliations with Shoop and the Panthers baseball program in Birmingham. He launched his coaching career as pitching coach and top assistant to Scot Patterson at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., then returned to his alma mater in Birmingham, where as an assistant coach he was reunited on the BSC staff with Shoop and Schoenrock from 1994 to 1996. During that span the Panthers won a pair of conference crowns and in 1995 advanced to its first NAIA World Series berth.
Thompson left BSC briefly to serve as head baseball coach at Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham in 1997. While at JSCC he was honored as the Regional Tournament Coach of the Year, the ABCA Alabama Junior College Coach of the Year and the Southeast Region Coach of the Year after guiding JSCC to a 39-21 mark, the AJCAA Region 22 State Championship and a third-place finish in the NJCAA Division II World Series.
He returned to Birmingham-Southern as Shoop's top assistant the following season, beginning a four-year run during the most successful span in BSC baseball history. The Panthers won 196 games and four TranSouth Conference championships and made three consecutive appearances in the NAIA World Series. BSC's 2001 team posted a school-best 55-11 mark and captured the NAIA National Championship.
In 2002 Thompson joined the Southeastern Conference baseball coaching fraternity, beginning a four-year term as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Georgia under head coach David Perno. Georgia's 2003 recruiting class was ranked 10th nationally and UGA captured the 2004 SEC title and advanced through the NCAA Tournament to the NCAA College World Series.
Following the 2005 campaign he continued his SEC affiliation at Auburn, serving as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator on the staff of Tom Slater. Each of his three recruiting classes at Auburn was ranked among the nation's top 18, including a No. 5 national ranking in 2007.
Thompson, honored as the 2006 Fellowship of Christian Athletes SEC Coach of the Year, has shared his expertise as a featured speaker at numerous baseball coaching clinics throughout the Southeast.
He earned a bachelor's degree in history at BSC in 1992 and completed a master's degree in sports administration at UAB in 1996. He is married to the former Robin Ashe of Birmingham, Ala., and they are the parents of three daughters --- Anna, Olivia and Madelyn Gail.
- 1993: Assistant Coach, Huntingdon (Ala.) College
- 1994-96: Assistant Coach, Birmingham-Southern College
- 1997: Head Coach, Jefferson (Ala.) State
- 1998-01: Assistant Coach, Birmingham-Southern College
- 2002-05: Assistant Coach, University of Georgia
- 2006-08: Assistant Coach, Auburn University
- 2009-12: Assistant Coach, Mississippi State University
- 2012-present: Associate Head Coach, Mississippi State University