Lemonis CB’s National Coach Of The Year

TUCSON, Ariz. — Mississippi State Head Coach Chris Lemonis has been named Collegiate Baseball’s National Coach of The Year.

He led the  Bulldogs to their first national title in any sport by defeating Vanderbilt, 9-0 in the championship game of the College World Series finals.

Mississippi St. (50-18) played seven games at the College World Series and didn’t commit an error. It was the first time in the 74-year-history of the event that a champion has not made an error enroute to the national title.

A total of 136 years have passed since the Mississippi State baseball program played its first season. There have been 4,381 games, 11 Southeastern Conference championships, seven SEC Tournament titles, 39 NCAA Tournament appearances and 12 trips to the College World Series. Now the Bulldogs are national champions thanks to the teaching skills of Lemonis and his coaching staff.

Mississippi State led the nation by averaging 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings which shattered the previous Division I record of 11.1 set by Ball State in 2019. Three pitchers had over 100 strikeouts in Will Bednar (139), Christian MacLeod (113) and Landon Sims (100). Overall, the staff fanned 817 batters and walked only 266 in 68 games.

Mississippi State recorded its sixth 50-win season in program history. Lemonis joins former Bulldog Hall of Fame skipper Ron Polk as the only Bulldog head coaches with multiple 50-win seasons.

The Bulldogs finished second in the Southeastern Conference Western Division with a 20-10 record behind Arkansas. Then they were unceremoniously bounced from the SEC Tournament with two straight losses (13-1 to Florida and 12-2 to Tennessee).

Mississippi State regrouped and won a Regional and then a Super Regional and ultimately won the national title by winning two of three over Vanderbilt in the Championship Finals. After losing 8-2 to the Commodores, the Bulldogs pounded Vanderbilt 13-2 and 9-0 in the final two games to put an exclamation point on their first national championship.

The 18th head coach in the storied history of the program, a journey of nearly 40 years came full circle when Lemonis was introduced as Mississippi State’s new head coach on June 25, 2018. The son of a 1973 State graduate, Lemonis resided in Starkville as a child and now leads one of the perennial powerhouses in college baseball.
In his first season at the helm of the Diamond Dawgs in 2019, Lemonis became the winningest first-year head coach in SEC history and in the process led the team to the second-most victories in program history at 52.
Lemonis became one of just three SEC head coaches to advance to the College World Series in their inaugural season in the conference, joining Jake Gibbs (Ole Miss, 1972) and fellow Diamond Dawg skipper Pat McMahon (Mississippi State, 1998).
A school-record-tying 11 Diamond Dawgs heard their names called in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft, including three taken in the first 10 rounds. Ethan Small became the 15th Diamond Dawg taken in the first round of the MLB Draft while SEC career hits leader Jake Mangum (4th; New York Mets) and Colby White (6th; Tampa Bay) each heard their names called in the first 10 rounds. The 11 selections in the MLB Draft were No. 3 nationally in 2019.

Previous Collegiate Baseball National Coaches of The Year include:

  • 2020: Mike Bianco, Mississippi
  • 2019: Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt
  • 2018: Pat Casey, Oregon St.
  • 2017: Kevin O’Sullivan, Florida
  • 2016: Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina
  • 2015: Brian O’Connor, Virginia
  • 2014: Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt
  • 2013: John Savage, UCLA
  • 2012: Andy Lopez, Arizona
  • 2011: Ray Tanner, South Carolina
  • 2010: Ray Tanner, South Carolina
  • 2009: Paul Mainieri, Louisiana St.
  • 2008: Mike Batesole, Fresno St.
  • 2007: Pat Casey, Oregon St.
  • 2006: Pat Casey, Oregon St.
  • 2005: Augie Garrido, Texas
  • 2004: George Horton, Cal. St. Fullerton
  • 2003: Wayne Graham, Rice
  • 2002: Augie Garrido, Texas
  • 2001: Jim Morris, Miami (Fla.)
  • 2000: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
  • 1999: Jim Morris, Miami (Fla.)
  • 1998: Mike Gillespie, Southern Calif.
    Mike Batesole, Cal. St. Northridge
  • 1997: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
  • 1996: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.,
    Andy Lopez, Florida
  • 1995: Augie Garrido, Cal. St. Fullerton
  • 1994: Larry Cochell, Oklahoma
  • 1993: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
  • 1992: Andy Lopez, Pepperdine
  • 1991: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
  • 1990: Steve Webber, Georgia
  • 1989: Dave Snow, Long Beach St.
  • 1988: Larry Cochell, Cal. St. Fullerton
  • 1987: Mark Marquess, Stanford
  • 1986: Jerry Kindall, Arizona
  • 1985: Ron Fraser, Miami (Fla.)
  • 1984: Augie Garrido, Cal. St. Fullerton
  • 1983: Cliff Gustafson, Texas
  • 1982: Ron Fraser, Miami (Fla.)
  • 1981: Jim Brock, Arizona St.
  • 1980: Jerry Kindall, Arizona