Despite the 0 and 3 showing in Hattiesburg this weekend, I still believe Andy Cannizaro is one of the best coaches at any sport in the country. I have never seen a coach that regularly embraces his and other sports around campus as passionately as Cannizaro has. If you didn’t see the video that @HailStateBB released Friday morning, then do yourself a favor and watch it. If it doesn’t give you goosebumps and the feeling of wanting to run through a brick wall, I don’t know what will. Cannizaro may be one of the best motivators I have ever seen, along with being an elite-level coach. He instills a belief system into everyone he encounters, that at Mississippi State we have the best fans, facilities, coaches, and players to win championships in Starkville. And to be honest, as a realist, I never thought this about any program at MSU, sans a few of our great Baseball teams of the past. But this guy is building a quiet confidence, not only on the diamond but all over campus and throughout Bulldog nation.
Take the Lady Dawgs basketball game against South Carolina earlier this month, whom Vic Schaefer had never defeated as Head Coach of the Dawgs. Andy Cannizaro came into the locker room before the game and addressed the team as if he was the coach, and from the casual observer you would have thought he was. He knew everyone’s names, was fired up from the moment he entered the locker room, and had an infectious desire to give it everything he had as a fan and coach, as well as, instilling that into the women’s basketball team, even if it was just a quick 3 minute speech. You could tell the women felt his passion and desire and then took that to the court where they dominated the Gamecocks. I am not giving all the credit for the win to Coach Cannizaro, but he has the ability to almost make you feel like a kid again and tap into that primal love for the game that gets everyone who has ever played a sport excited to play and eager to work harder than the person next to you.
In my opinion, Cannizaro should have won national coach of the year last year with all the adversity the baseball team had to endure to still make it to a super regional. But, that award along with SEC Championships and maybe even a National Championship aren’t that hard to fathom with this coach, and I am now convinced these will come to fruition much sooner than later.