Kentucky hires MSU assistant Mingione

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The 11 Mississippi State players who were picked in last week’s Major League Baseball draft aren’t the only ones leaving Starkville.

For the second consecutive year, one of the Bulldogs’ coaches is moving onward and upward as well.

Longtime Mississippi State assistant coach Nick Mingione was hired Monday as the head coach at Southeastern Conference rival Kentucky.

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It’s the first head coaching job for Mingione, who worked with the Bulldogs under John Cohen for the past eight seasons and was his assistant at Kentucky in 2006-07. Kentucky won its first SEC championship in 2006.

Mingione will replace Gary Henderson, who stepped down on June 1 after eight seasons at Kentucky.

Last year, former MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson was hired as the head coach at Auburn.

“This is an opportunity I’ve dreamed about for more than a decade,” Mingione said. “From the moment I first stepped foot on campus I knew it would be a place I could call home. What an incredible feeling to be back. Kentucky is a special place and this baseball program has had great moments over the years, including some that I have been a part of. I can’t wait to get to work on building toward an even brighter future.”

Mingione has also been an assistant at Western Carolina; Embry-Riddle University, his alma mater; and Florida Gulf Coast.

Mingione’s time in Starkville included a Southeastern Conference regular-season championship this spring, a runner-up finish in the 2013 College World Series, and a 2012 SEC tournament title.

Mingione has earned a reputation as a top recruiter. Over the nine seasons at Kentucky and Mississippi State for which recruiting rankings are final, he helped land classes with an average ranking of 14th, including top-three classes in 2013-15.

He also has coached 64 players selected in the MLB Draft, as well as 36 All-Americans and five conference players of the year.

“It’s been a privilege to watch Nick develop as a person and a coach for a decade. He’s a tireless recruiter who values relationships, and he’s done an outstanding job developing our players,” Cohen said in a statement. “I’ve always thought he would make a terrific head coach. Just like our former pitching coach Butch Thompson, I am glad Nick is getting an opportunity to become a head coach in the SEC.”