Cohen earns boost

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – John Cohen’s summer got even better Thursday.
Mississippi State announced that it has given its baseball coach a contract extension through 2015 and a pay raise after the Bulldogs’ deep postseason run. Cohen’s contract will be extended back to the four-year maximum allowed for state employees, and he’ll get a five percent bump in base pay, to $262,500 a year.
He’ll also received an undisclosed supplement from the Bulldog Foundation.
MSU went 38-25 this past season, sweeping through the NCAA Atlanta Regional and pushing Florida to the brink in the super regional round, coming within eight outs of a College World Series appearance.
“John and his staff have done a tremendous job of leading our baseball program back to national prominence by recruiting top talent and instilling toughness,” athletics director Scott Stricklin said in a statement. “I look forward to John being our head coach for many years to come.”
State finished 15th in the country in both the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and Collegiate Baseball rankings, and 17th in the Baseball America rankings.
Cohen said the new deal doesn’t add any more pressure to build on this season, when the Bulldogs made both the SEC Tournament field and the NCAAs for the first time in four years.
“There’s not one expectation that Scott Stricklin has for our program that I don’t share,” Cohen said. “I think we’re all after the same thing.”
In three seasons at MSU, Cohen is 86-87, including 29-60 in SEC play. MSU went 14-16 in league play this past season and finished tied for second in the Western Division.
Cohen appears to have the once-proud program back on track, but he added that he’s only one part of the greater puzzle in Starkville.
“I think there’s some really exciting things happening with our entire athletic department, with what Dan (Mullen, football coach) has brought to the table, and all the sports,” he said. “It’s an exciting time, and I think Scott is really one of those young visionaries who really gets what we’re trying to do, what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Assistant coaches Butch Thompson and Lane Burroughs also received raises. Thompson’s salary was bumped from $120,000 to $126,000, while Burroughs went from $85,000 to $100,000 a year.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or brad.locke@journalinc.com.