STARKVILLE, MS (WLOX) - John Cohen was named Mississippi State University's 17th director of athletics on Friday. MSU President Mark E. Keenum made the announcement.
Cohen is the current head coach at Mississippi State. The two-time SEC Coach of the Year replaces Scott Stricklin, who was named athletic director at the University of Florida in September.
Cohen said, "I love Mississippi State University as a student, later as a coach, and now with this fantastic opportunity to lead MSU's athletics program, this was always where I wanted to be. I am profoundly grateful for the chance to lead the totality of MSU athletics as I have tried to lead MSU's baseball program - in daily and dogged pursuit of championships at the highest level."
Cohen, 50, has spent over two decades coaching college baseball and has been the head coach at MSU since 2009. In July, he was given the title of Associate Athletic Director, broadening his role in the MSU Athletic Department. He was selected after a national search by MSU officials.
"We conducted an exhaustive national search and in that process interviewed some of the nation's very top athletic department administrators. "Keenum said. "But after reviewing those outstanding candidates, it became clear to me that John Cohen's undeniable record of aggressively pursuing championships both as an MSU player and head coach positioned him best to continue the dynamic legacy of growth and accomplishment that MSU athletics has enjoyed in recent years. John understands that trajectory and has been an integral part of it - and he can move the Bulldog family forward united."
Cohen is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and MSU alumnus. and has been a head coach in the SEC for 12 years. His teams have been successful both on the field and in the classroom.
He led MSU to the College World Series finals , an SEC regular season championship and an SEC Tournament championship. Since 2009, MSU baseball has had 133 players selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, including three straight SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year award winners from 2013-15.
As a baseball player at MSU, Cohen helped the Bulldogs win the 1989 SEC championship and trip to the 1990 College World Series.
He previously coached at Northwestern State University from 1998-2001. Spent two seasons as an assistant baseball coach at the University of Florida. He was named the head coach at the University of Kentucky in 2004 and coached there until he returned to MSU.
Cohen has won 284 games at MSU and has demonstrated the ability to develop players and coaches. During his time in Starkville, 135 MSU baseball players have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. Two of his assistant coaches at MSU have become head coaches in the SEC.
Cohen and his wife, Nelle, are active members of the Starkville community. The couple has two daughters, Jordan Baker and Avery Lawson.
Speculation has it that LSU hitting coach and recruiting coordinator, Andy Cannizaro, will be named MSU head baseball coach.