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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Cannizaro introduced as baseball coach

Mississippi State baseball is under new reign after John Cohen was named director of athletics last week. 

Following Cohen’s promotion, Andy Cannizaro was hired to lead the defending SEC regular season champions with a four-year $533,333 contract. He is the 17th head baseball coach for MSU. 

Cannizaro is a former major league baseball player and has been a stellar college coach in his career. He said he was humbled about being able to coach at Mississippi State.

“First and foremost, I just want to talk about how honored and how privileged I am to become the new head baseball coach at Mississippi State,” Cannizaro said. “We are talking about one of the most prideful and one of the most tradition based baseball programs in all of America.”

Prior to coaching, Cannizaro was a 4-year starter at Tulane (1998-2001) and had his best year in 2001 where he hit .395 with 118 hits and 52 stolen bases. He led the Green Wave to the first College World Series in school history.

Getting drafted in the seventh round to the New York Yankees in 2001, he played in the organization for seven years and reached the major league for a quick two-month stint. He retired from the game in 2009.

After retiring, he served as a scout for the Yankees from 2009-2014. Moving back to the collegiate level, he served as the hitting and recruiting coach at LSU and excelled. In 2015, LSU ranked No. 1 in hits in the nation and was in the top of the SEC last season.

Not only a great hitting coach, he led the LSU Tigers to 225 stolen bases in his two years there, highest in the SEC.

Former coach and now athletic director Cohen could not be more pleased with his choice in head baseball coach, and is excited for the future of MSU baseball.

“We are thrilled to welcome Andy to the Mississippi State baseball family,” Cohen said. “When you look at all of the characteristics we need in a baseball coach at Mississippi State, Andy is the perfect fit. He has an outstanding resume as a recruiter and scout in evaluating and developing talent.”

After a year when MSU crushed the ball game after game, Cannizaro looks to build on that as a whole. SEC Freshman of the year and SEC batting crown Jake Mangum  said he is extremely pleased and excited to work with Cannizaro moving forward in his career.

“We are all excited,” Mangum said. “The first meeting the other night was just really exciting. All the guys were ready to go. He just asked us really simply that if you play hard enough and give me all your effort, we are going to get along great and everyone will love each other.”

Mangum went on to talk about how well the team was adjusting from Cohen to Cannizaro and stated that the team really bought into what Cannizaro brought to the team and to the first practice. 

“We are all really excited about the change,” Mangum said. “Coach Cohen was a spectacular coach. He will be in charge of all the athletics now and he is going to do a great job. Coach Andy is just a perfect fit for us and I really mean that. He is going to do a special, special, special job here.”

Brent Rooker, who led the team in home runs last year and is a returning draftee, is excited for Cannizaro to be here, not only for his coaching ability but also his past work as a MLB scout and player.

“It is awesome, it is a really exciting opportunity for all of us,” Rooker said. “I had the opportunity to get drafted last year, I came back. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with him, who has played in the big leagues, which is my ultimate goal as a baseball player. He has been on the scouting side, so he knows what guys are looking for and he knows how to approach his meetings. I think it will be really beneficial to both me and the rest of the players.”

Cannizaro expressed his praise for the 2016 SEC championship team, and told the players how fun they were and that they are going to build on that and be better than they were.

“I just want you guys to know that competing against you guys last year in the SEC was a lot of fun because you guys played hard,” Cannizaro said. “There was an intensity, there was a serious swagger with you guys every single day and I am so fired up to be a part of what you guys have built here. We are going to do it and do it big. There is a really big scoreboard, massive scoreboard going up in right field. I told our guys everytime we turn that scoreboard on we are going to light it up.”

Cannizaro then made a statement and a promise to fans that led to a huge round of applause from the bulldog faithful. 

“We are going to be in Omaha, we are going to be dogpiling on the mound and we are going to win a national championship,” Cannizaro said to the fans.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Cannizaro introduced as baseball coach