It was reported in October and now it’s official.
Mississippi State announced on Friday that it has named baseball coach John Cohen as the university’s 17th athletic director.
“We conducted an exhaustive national search and in that process interviewed some of the nation’s very top athletic department administrators,” Mississippi State president Mark E. Keenum said in a statement.
“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.”
“I announced on Sept. 26 that a nationwide search was underway to choose Mississippi State University’s next Director of Athletics. In that announcement, I outlined the process we would observe in which we would engage an executive search firm to help guide the effort and that we would seek substantive input from MSU stakeholders during the search. We are following that plan.
“The report today by The Clarion-Ledger’s Mike Bonner indicated that a decision has been made in that process was inaccurate. I’m extremely disappointed that a reputable newspaper and reporter would make such a report without seeking basic confirmation of the facts of the story being circulated. Doing so is irresponsible and in some ways may interfere with the process. It’s unfair to the candidates seeking the position who have not yet been interviewed.
“At present, no decisions have been made, no announcements prepared, and no press conferences scheduled. Neither I nor any of the university’s senior communications staff was asked to confirm or deny Mr. Bonner’s story prior to his publication of it. Perhaps that’s most disappointing of all.
“We’re not going to make this personnel decision in the media. We will follow our plan, we will conduct this search in the manner we previously outlined, and we will ultimately make the best decision for Mississippi State. This will be done in an expeditious timeline, but on our timeline.”
Cohen played baseball for the Bulldogs from 1988-1990, and has coached them since 2009. His previous stops included assistant positions at Missouri and Florida, as well as serving as Kentucky’s head coach from 2004-2008.
“I love Mississippi State University,” Cohen said in a statement. “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.”
He will take over for former Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin, who officially started at Florida on Monday.