NEMCC baseball set for first pitch banquet

By NEMCC Media Relations

BOONEVILLE – Northeast Mississippi Community College’s baseball program will hold its annual First Pitch Banquet on Monday, January 21 inside the Claude Wright Room of the Frank Haney Union on the Booneville campus.

Northeast baseball’s kickoff event is set to start at 7 p.m.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Delta State University’s Mike Kinnison with former Mississippi State University quarterback Matt Wyatt emceeing the night.

Advance tickets are $20 and $25 at the door the night of the First Pitch Banquet.

Kinnison joins an illustrious list to speak at Northeast baseball’s First Pitch Banquet.

Starting in 2007, Atlanta Braves Minor League Pitching Coordinator Kent Willis, former Mississippi State University Head Baseball Coach Ron Polk (2008), University of Mississippi head baseball coach Mike Bianco (2009) and University of Southern Mississippi head baseball coach Scott Berry (2010) and Mississippi State University head baseball coach John Cohen in 2011 and University of Memphis baseball coach Daron Schoenrock (2012) have all spoken at the season-opening event.

Kinnison is in his 17th season as head coach of one of the most storied programs in collegiate baseball.

The Gulf South Conference selected Kinnison as the 2012 Baseball Coach of the Year to make it Kinnison’s sixth GSC Coach of the Year accolade after guiding the Statesmen to the No. 1 seed in the Conference Tournament followed by their 12th all-time GSC Tournament Title. DSU entered the NCAA post-season as the No. 2 seed in the South Region Tournament after compiling a 40-12 overall record via its first 40-win campaign since 2008.

Kinnison’s honor ups his all-time Coach of the Year total to six, which ties him for the most in league history with former Jacksonville State skipper Rudy Abbott. Kinnison has compiled a 694-213-1 career mark in his 16 season in Cleveland.

On March 20, 2011, Coach Kinnison tied his former coach and mentor Dave “Boo” Ferriss for the school’s career wins mark at 639. In 26 seasons, Ferriss compiled a 639-387-8 record as head coach of the Statesmen. Kinnison accomplished the feat in 15 seasons as skipper.

In 2010, it was announced that Kinnison was an inductee for the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and on July 31, 2011, Kinnision joined the Hall of Fame with the class of 2011. Receiving the highest honor an athlete or coach can receive in Mississippi, Kinnison is a legend still hard at work.

In 2004, he earned the ABCA “National Coach of the Year” award after leading the Statesmen to the program’s first-ever NCAA Division II National Championship. He has also been named the Gulf South Coach of the Year six times and appropriately named “Coach of the Decade” by the GSC in 2010.

In his 16 seasons as head coach, Kinnison has guided the Statesmen to the 2004 NCAA National title, five College World Series appearances (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 & 2012), 10 NCAA South Regional appearances (1999-2005, 2007, 2008 & 2012), 11 GSC Western Division titles (1997-2005, 2007-2008), five NCAA South/South Central Regional championships and five Gulf South Conference titles.

Following after their coach, the Statesmen continue to achieve high honors themselves as 12 were placed on the GSC’s All-Decade Team. This included the talented Jud Thigpen who was awarded West Division Player of the Decade.

Kinnison has also coached two American Baseball Coaches Association National Players of the Year, as Dee Haynes (2000) and Jud Thigpen (2004) earned the honor.

For more information about the banquet, contact Northeast head baseball coach Kent Farris at 662-720-7309 or by email at wkfarris@nemcc.edu.