Kentucky has gone back to the John Cohen coaching tree.
On Monday, the school said it hired Mississippi State assistant coach Nick Mingione as its new head coach, replacing Gary Henderson, who resigned June 1.
Like Henderson, Mingione, 37, was an assistant at Kentucky under John Cohen. Mingione coached under Cohen from 2006-07. After a year at Western Carolina, he reunited with Cohen at Mississippi State, where he just completed his eighth season.
The Wildcats went 32-25 this season and finished eighth in the Southeastern Conference, but missed the NCAA tournament.
|2016 COACHING CHANGES|
|Appalachian State||Billy Jones|
|Kentucky||Gary Henderson||Nick Mingione|
|Lamar||Jim Gilligan (ret.)||Will Davis|
|San Jose State||Dave Nakama|
|Youngstown State||Steve Gillispie|
“This is an opportunity I’ve dreamed about for more than a decade,” Mingione said in a news release. “From the moment I first stepped foot on campus I knew it would be a place I could call home. What an incredible feeling to be back. Kentucky is a special place and this baseball program has had great moments over the years, including some that I have been a part of. I can’t wait to get to work on building toward an even brighter future.
“I want to thank President (Eli) Capilouto and Mitch for entrusting the program to me, John (Cohen) for the mentorship that has prepared me for this moment and the unending support of my family, especially my wife, Christen.”
“Nick Mingione has been preparing for this opportunity for the last 13 years and I absolutely know that he will make the most of it,” Cohen said in a news release. “He is one of the nation’s elite recruiters. He is a brilliant tactician of the game. His ability to prepare kids for success in the SEC is of the highest level.”
Mississippi State won the SEC championship this season for the first time since 1989, completing a worst-to-first turnaround. Mingione, as recruiting coordinator, helped engineer the Bulldogs about-face, bringing in the nation’s fifth-ranked recruiting class in the fall. The class included outfielder Jake Mangum, the 2016 SEC freshman of the year.
Mingione played at Embry-Riddle (Fla.), then an NAIA school, from 1997-2000. He began his college coaching career at Florida Gulf Coast in 2002, before returning to his alma mater for three seasons.
Mississippi State has now seen two assistant coaches leave to become SEC head coaches in less than a year. Last October, pitching coach Butch Thompson, the 2014 Assistant Coach of the Year, left Starkville to take over at Auburn.