SEC Suspends Cohen One Game; Cohen Reacts

Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen has been suspended one game by the SEC for his actions following Sunday’s 8-7 loss to Alabama, the league announced this afternoon.

Cohen will miss Friday’s series opener at No. 6 Florida, and the punishment also prohibits him from participating in Thursday’s practice. He already has served a one-game suspension – Tuesday’s game versus Mississippi Valley State – due to an NCAA rule that requires a coach receiving a “post-participation” ejection to sit the next game.

The SEC said its suspension of Cohen was due to “violating Southeastern Conference sportsmanship rules.” Following Sunday’s loss, Cohen was yelling at home plate umpire Steve Dew as the umpiring crew left the field. He was still angry about a call that didn’t go MSU’s way in the ninth inning.

The SEC release says that another ejection for Cohen this season “will result in an automatic game suspension and the possibility of additional sanctions.”

Cohen told me that was the first postgame ejection of his career, and when I asked whether he had expected the SEC to suspend him, he said, “I don’t honestly know. I’ve never been involved with anything like this. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I have a lot of respect for the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, and I’m going to adhere to his ruling.”

The fourth-year MSU coach spoke with commissioner Mike Slive earlier this afternoon, but he declined to divulge the specifics of that conversation.

Cohen said he doesn’t expect his absence to adversely affect the No. 25-ranked Bulldogs when they play Florida in Gainesville.

“Absolutely not. Our kids have worked incredibly hard,” he said. “Without me in the dugout they’re still going to perform and compete their tails off just like they did Sunday at Alabama. Our job is to prepare our kids, and I think our kids are very prepared.”

Cohen said he’s still traveling with the team, and he’ll make use of his free time Thursday and Friday.

“There’s always recruiting opportunities, always. Believe me, I will be working for Mississippi State baseball in some capacity, it just won’t be on the field.”

Pitching coach Butch Thompson will serve as head coach Friday, just as he did Tuesday.