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Andy Cannizaro was an Obvious Choice for John Cohen

Despite his lack of experience, John Cohen didn’t hesitate to hire the rising star to be his successor.

Mississippi State Baseball Coach Andy Cannizaro addresses the team.
Kelly Price: @HailStatePics

The new head coach of the Mississippi State baseball team has an interesting resume. It looks a little something like this.

  • Head Coaching Experience: None
  • Assistant Coaching Experience: Two Years
  • Scouting Experience: Six Years
  • MLB Playing Experience: 10 Plate Appearances

The resume does not jump out at you as the obvious hire for one of the top head coaching positions in all of college baseball. But John Cohen had a different mindset when he was making his first hire as Athletic Director and his own successor for the baseball program.

What could have been an exhaustive search to replace John Cohen, the new AD decided to act quickly because he knew the guy he wanted. With Signing Day for baseball just around the corner after Cohen was announced as the new AD, it was important to move quickly, and Cohen went with a guy who was very familiar with the Mississippi State baseball program, even though the fans might not have known about it.

After the 2014 season, the New York Yankees drafted Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder off of the Bulldogs baseball team. The reason they drafted both of those players was because Andy Cannizaro was the scout for the Yankees who did the legwork on both players. Cannizaro had numerous interviews with the players and coaches for the Bulldogs to get a better idea about what the Yankess were getting when they drafted both players.

As a result, Cannizaro and John Cohen already had a good working relationship. When Cannizaro was tasked with the job of hitting coach for LSU at the end of the 2014 season, he showed he could make good offensive players even better. It was all the evidence John Cohen needed.

Many have quickly declared Andy Cannizaro as a star-in-the-making when it comes to baseball coaches, but some people wonder if a high profile job like Mississippi State will be too much for a first time head coach. Most thought he would have needed to cut his teeth some on a smaller program first before diving head first into an SEC job.

But John Cohen determined that if he knew how to coach now, there’s nothing Cannizaro could do to prove he’d be any better at coaching with a few more years under his belt. If you don’t hire the star now, you might not have a chance to hire him in the future.

Mississippi State could have had their pick of coaches. There’s only a handful of coaches in the country that wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to take over one of the premiere jobs available. Just because he doesn’t have a lot of experience, don’t think for a minute that John Cohen didn’t get the guy he wanted.