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Ron Polk
Position: Head Coach
Hometown: Boston, MA
Alma Mater: Grand Canyon [AZ] College
Graduating Year: 1965
Experience: 28 Years
Email: aedwards@athletics.msstate.edu
Ron Polk

Ron Polk, who has helped solidify Mississippi State University’s position of prominence on college baseball’s national map, is in his 29th season as skipper of Mississippi State’s Diamond Dogs, his 35th as a collegiate head coach and his 40th in all levels of coaching college baseball.

A native of Boston, Mass., Polk is in his second tour as head baseball coach at Mississippi State. He initially served as head coach at MSU from 1976 until his retirement from coaching following Mississippi State’s run to the 1997 College World Series. After a four-year absence, Polk returned to the post for the 2002 season. In the two seasons prior to his return to State, Polk served as head coach at the University of Georgia, guiding the 2001 UG Bulldogs to an SEC championship and an appearance in the College World Series.

Polk concluded his 28th season at State in 2007 like he has most of his 34 seasons as a collegiate head coach in postseason competition. He guided the 2007 Mississippi State edition to a 38-22 record and to State’s 30th appearance in NCAA postseason play, its 24th regional tournament berth and the school’s eighth trip to Omaha, Neb., and the prestigious NCAA College World Series.

Polk’s 34-year overall coaching record stands at 1,350-667-2, fifth-most wins among active NCAA Division I baseball coaches. Even more impressive is his career top 10 standing among NCAA Division I Baseball’s all-time coaching ranks. Polk, whose teams have averaged just under 40 wins per season, became college baseball’s seventh winningest coach of all-time during the 2007 season.

In 28 seasons in Starkville he has skippered the Bulldogs to a 1,116-555-2 record (.667). He has coached better than 47 percent of Mississippi State’s 3,556 all-time games and has directed MSU to nearly half of its 2,257 all-time wins. With his 27th season at State in 2006, Polk moved past former longtime State baseball skipper C.R. "Dudy" Noble as the longest-tenured baseball coach in Mississippi State history.

Perhaps no figure in all of college baseball is more widely recognized and respected than Polk, who became the winningest coach in SEC history during a remarkable 22-year run as Mississippi State head baseball coach from 1976 to 1997. During that span he compiled an 888-422 record (.678), leading the Bulldogs to SEC regular season or tournament championships five times (1979, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1990) and securing MSU baseball’s place in college baseball’s national picture with 15 NCAA regional tournament berths and five appearances in the prestigious NCAA College World Series (1979, 1981, 1985, 1990 and 1997).

Though he stepped away from coaching following Mississippi State’s successful drive to the 1997 NCAA College World Series, Polk’s success story continued. He remained on staff as MSU’s Assistant Athletic Director for Special Projects, spearheading the successful campaign to expand the stadium and add premium skysuites at Dudy Noble Field, Polk-DeMent Stadium. And, after his return to coaching at the University of Georgia, he directed the UGA Bulldogs’ drive to their first SEC baseball crown in 47 years and a berth in the 2001 NCAA College World Series. Georgia became the third Polk-led team to advance to the CWS and Polk joined current Texas head coach Augie Garrido and former Oklahoma skipper Larry Cochell as the only coaches to guide teams from three different schools to the NCAA College World Series.

Twice honored as the National Coach of the Year (1973 and 1985) and honored by his peers as the recipient of the ABCA’s Lefty Gomez Award, Polk has earned his place in the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame (1995), both the state of Mississippi and the Mississippi State University Sports Hall of Fame (1998), and the Georgia Southern University Hall of Fame (1990).

In 34 years as a collegiate head coach, he has piled up numbers more than worthy of his hall of fame recognition: a 1,350-667-2 (.669) overall career record and a 444-329 (.574) mark in SEC games; 23 NCAA district playoff and NCAA regional tournament appearances; eight NCAA College World Series berths; 35 All-Americans and 76 All-SEC players coached; and 171 that have signed professional baseball contracts, 21 of them advancing to the major leagues. In 1997 he became only the 16th coach in the history of college baseball to reach the 1,000-win milestone and currently ranks as college baseball’s seventh all-time winningest coach.

Not surprisingly, the influence of Ron Polk can be found on baseball diamonds across the nation. Heading into the 2008 season, 30 players and coaches associated with Polk were coaching on the collegiate or high school level and 19 others were affiliated with professional baseball.

Polk also rates as one of only three head coaches in the history of college baseball to guide three different schools to the NCAA College World Series. In the second year of a successful four-year stint at Georgia Southern University, Polk launched his Omaha connection by guiding his GSC club to the championship of the NCAA District III playoffs held at MSU’s Dudy Noble Field and on to a berth in the College World Series. Including his coaching stint as a graduate assistant at Arizona, Polk has accompanied teams to Omaha in each of the last five decades.

He was hired as head baseball coach at Mississippi State University in the fall of 1975, directed MSU to its first NCAA Regional Tournament berth in 1978 and a year later to its second NCAA College World Series berth. In that 1979 season, State hosted and won the Southeastern Conference baseball championship, the first of five SEC titles during his initial term at State. The Bulldogs also hosted and captured the 1979 NCAA South Regional, the first of 12 NCAA regional or super regional tournaments hosted by the Baseball Bulldogs.

Polk is a 1965 graduate of Grand Canyon (Ariz.) University. He launched his coaching career and earned his master’s degree from the University of Arizona in 1966, where he served on the staff of the legendary Frank Sancet. He later accepted a graduate assistantship at the University of New Mexico, serving there one season before accepting his first full-time coaching position in Florida as an assistant coach under coach Charlie Greene at Miami Dade-South Community College.

Polk authored "The Baseball Playbook", the nation’s leading college textbook for baseball, and is featured in a recently published book, "6 Psychological Factors for Success: America’s Most Successful Coaches Reveal the Path to Competitive Excellence".

In addition to his coaching on the NCAA level, Polk has also been actively involved with coaching in international baseball.

He has completed seven tours as a member of the coaching staff for the USA National Baseball Team, twice serving as the head coach (1991 and 1998) and five times as an assistant coach (1977, 1987, 1988, 1995, 1996). Two of the teams that he coached represented the United States in the Olympic Games. He was an assistant coach on the gold medal-winning U.S. team in the 1988 Olympics (Seoul, South Korea) and on the bronze medal-winning U.S. team in the 1996 Olympics (Atlanta, Georgia).

Polk has also skippered Mississippi State teams in international competition. He guided his first MSU team on a goodwill summer tour of West Germany in 1976 and in 1982 directed the MSU team in competition at the World Amateur Tournament in the Netherlands.

Polk’s influence on college baseball, particularly in the highly-competitive Southeastern Conference, is reflected at the baseball facilities throughout the league. In 1987 Mississippi State completed a $3.5 million, 6,700-seat grandstand and baseball facility at Dudy Noble Field. In subsequent years new grandstands and significant stadium improvements have followed at the baseball facilities at each of the other schools in the SEC.

The MSU baseball facility was officially renamed Dudy Noble Field, Polk-DeMent Stadium in April, 1998 in honor of Polk and the late Gordon DeMent, a successful businessman and longtime MSU baseball fan from Indianola, Miss.

Under Polk’s direction, it has continued to grow in recent years. After stepping away from coaching in 1997, Polk coordinated the pre-construction sale of luxury skysuites and additional grandstand seating at Dudy Noble Field in a project that was completed during the 2000 season. And in late 2005 work was completed on two other major baseball projects: a 68,000-square foot climate-controlled indoor training facility, the Palmeiro Center, named after former Mississippi State and Major League Baseball great Rafael Palmeiro, and the baseball coaches office complex, both adjacent to Dudy Noble Field. The office building, which also houses a heritage room, was made possible by gifts from past Polk pupils who went on to Major League careers Jeff Brantley, Will Clark, Eric DuBose, Paul Maholm, Jay Powell and Bobby Thigpen, and former State manager Bo McKinnis.

Coaching Career
- 1966: Graduate Assistant Coach, University of Arizona
- 1967: Graduate Assistant Coach, University of New Mexico 
- 1968-71: Assistant Coach, Miami Dade-South Community College
- 1972-75: Head Coach, Georgia Southern University 
- 1975: Assistant Coach, University of Miami 
- 1976-97: Head Coach, Mississippi State University 
- 2000-01: Head Coach, University of Georgia 
- 2002-present: Head Coach, Mississippi State University

Year-by-Year Records
                                    OVERALL        CONF     SECT   NCAA   CWS
Year    School                W-L      Pct.    W-L      W-L    W-L    W-L

1972    Georgia Southern     31-19     .620     ---      ---    ---    ---
1973    Georgia Southern     43-12     .782     ---      ---    3-1    1-2
1974    Georgia Southern     47-14     .770     ---      ---    2-2    ---
1975    Georgia Southern     34-19     .642     ---      ---    ---    ---
1976    Mississippi State    28-17     .622    11-12     ---    ---    ---
1977    Mississippi State    33-15     .688    11-9      1-2    ---    ---
1978    Mississippi State    38-18     .679    13-8      3-2    2-2    ---
1979    Mississippi State    48-12     .800   *17-2     +3-0    4-1    1-2
1980    Mississippi State    31-19     .620    10-11     ---    ---    ---
1981    Mississippi State    46-17     .730    17-6      1-2    3-0    1-2
1982    Mississippi State    28-23     .549    11-13     ---    ---    ---
1983    Mississippi State    42-15     .737    17-5      2-2    3-2    ---
1984    Mississippi State    45-16     .738    18-5      1-2    3-2    ---
1985    Mississippi State    50-15     .769   *16-8     +3-0    3-1    2-2
1986    Mississippi State    34-21     .618    12-5      ---    ---    ---
1987    Mississippi State    39-22     .639   *13-3     +4-0    1-2    ---
1988    Mississippi State    44-20     .688    17-10     3-2    2-2    ---
1989    Mississippi State    54-14     .794   *20-5      1-2    4-2    ---
1990    Mississippi State    50-21     .704   *17-9     +4-1    4-1    1-2
1991    Mississippi State    42-21     .667    12-9      2-2    2-2    ---
1992    Mississippi State    40-22     .645    15-9      1-2    2-2    ---
1993    Mississippi State    41-21     .661    17-12     3-2    0-2    ---
1994    Mississippi State    36-23     .610    15-12     2-2    ---    ---
1995    Mississippi State    34-25     .576    11-16     1-2    ---    ---
1996    Mississippi State    38-24     .613    17-13     1-2    1-2    ---
1997    Mississippi State    47-21     .691    19-11     1-2    5-1    1-2
2000    Georgia                  32-26     .564    14-15     1-2    ---    ---
2001    Georgia                  47-22     .681   *20-10     1-2  4-1/2-1  0-2
2002    Mississippi State    34-24-1   .585    14-15     1-2    ---    ---
2003    Mississippi State    42-20-1   .675   17-12      2-2    2-2    ---
2004    Mississippi State    35-24     .593   13-17      ---    1-2    ---
2005    Mississippi State    42-22     .656   13-16     +4-0    2-2    ---
2006    Mississippi State    37-23     .617   12-17      ---    2-2    ---
2007    Mississippi State    38-20     .655   15-13     0-2    3-0/2-0 0-2
MSU CAREER (28 years)          1,116-555-2 . 668     410-303      44-35       51-32/2-0     6-12
SEC CAREER (30 years)           1,195-603-2  .666     444-328      46-39       57-34/4-1     6-12
OVERALL CAREER (34 years) 1,350-667-2  .669     444-328      46-39       62-37/4-1     7-14
* - Southeastern Conference Champions
+ - SEC Tournament Champions

SEC Championships: 5 (1979, 1985, 1987, 1989, 2001)
SEC Tournament Championships: 5 (1979, 1985, 1987, 1990, 2005)
NCAA Regional/Playoff Appearances: 23 (1973, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
College World Series Appearances: 8 (1973, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2007)

Milestone Wins
No. 1 Ga. Sou. 7, West Chester St. 2 (3/11/72)
No. 100 Ga. Sou. 10, Georgia Tech 5 (4/7/74)
No. 156 1-MSU 4, Louisiana Tech (3/8/76)
No. 500 MSU 3, Southeastern La. 2 (3/2/85)
No. 655 2-MSU 7, Alabama 6 (Game 1-5/7/88)
No. 1000 MSU 11, Delta State 4 (2/27/97)
No. 1,155 3-MSU 10, Ole Miss 5 (5/19/02)
No. 1,234 4- MSU 3, Eastern Illinois 1 (2/25/05)
1-First win at Mississippi State
2-500th win at Mississippi State
3-1,000th career SEC coaching win
4-1,000th win at Mississippi State

 

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