Cohen Gets Raise, Contract Extension

Coming off the program’s best season in four years, MSU baseball coach John Cohen has received a raise and contract extension, the school announced this afternoon.

Cohen’s contract will run through 2015, and standard procedure for MSU has been to keep coaches’ contracts at the four-year maximum allowed by state law. Cohen, 44, will get a pay raise, from $250,000 in base salary this year to $262,500 next year. He’ll also continue to receive an undisclosed supplement from the Bulldog Foundation.

MSU went 38-25 this past season, Cohen’s third in Starkville, and reached the super regional round, where it lost in three games to Florida. The Gators went on to reach the College World Series finals, losing to South Carolina.

State finished No. 15 in the final ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and No. 17 in Baseball America’s final rankings.

Cohen obviously expects to build on this season, and he doesn’t feel any added pressure from his enhanced contract.

“I don’t know if there’s a coach in the Southeastern Conference who doesn’t feel a sense of urgency,” Cohen said. “When you compete week in and week out in our league, you’re competing against the best, and if you’re not ready you’re going to get exposed.”

The coach said he and athletics director Scott Stricklin haven’t had a sit-down chat since the season ended, but the two speak several times a week.

“Scott Stricklin is all about energy and moving forward and competing your heart out all the time,” Cohen said. “When you’ve known somebody since you were 21 years old, you really know who they are. There’s no secrets there. There’s not one expectation that Scott Stricklin has for our program that I don’t share.”

In a statement, Stricklin said, “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. I look forward to John being our head coach for many years to come.”

Assistant coaches Butch Thompson, who handles the pitchers, and Lane Burroughs also got raises. Thompson’s pay goes from $120,000 a year to $126,000, while Burroughs’ goes from $85,000 to $100,000.