MSU’s Henderson earns National Coach of the Year honor

Published 6:04 pm Saturday, June 16, 2018

OMAHA, Neb. — Gary Henderson didn’t even start this season as a head coach, but he’s gaining a lot of recognition for the job he did as one by the end of it.

Henderson, who led Mississippi State to its first College World Series berth in five years, on Saturday was named the 2018 National College Baseball Writers Association Coach of the Year.

The award is the second of its kind season for Henderson this season. Last week he was also named the 2018 Perfect Game/Rawlings Coach of the Year.

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Henderson started the season as the Bulldogs’ pitching coach. He was elevated to head coach on Feb. 21, following the sudden resignation of Andy Cannizaro. The Bulldogs started slow, entering April with a 14-15 record, but have gone 23-12 since then.

Included in those 23 wins are 10 against top-five teams — Ole Miss, and fellow College World Series participants Florida and Arkansas. The Bulldogs also eliminated No. 7 overall seed Florida State in the NCAA Tournament’s Tallahassee Regional, and won six of seven games in the postseason after losing their regional opener.

In addition to the coaching change, Henderson guided Mississippi State through a difficult 11-game road trip to start the season.

Henderson is the first Mississippi State coach, and only the second from the Southeastern Conference, to win the award since it was started in 2008. LSU’s Paul Mainieri was the only other SEC recipient, in 2015.

“Coach Gary Henderson literally worked a miracle in getting Mississippi State to Omaha this season,” NCBWA executive director Bo Carter said in a release announcing the award. “After having to play their first 11 games on the road due to stadium construction and losing the opening SEC series to Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs rallied behind Coach Henderson and accomplished one of the great turnarounds in SEC history. He is a perfect choice for 2018 NCBWA National Division I Coach of the Year.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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