Vanderbilt's Corbin respects job Henderson has done with MSU

Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin shakes hands with MSU's Gary Henderson.
Staff Writer

Vanderbilt head baseball coach Tim Corbin is as familiar as anyone with exactly how tough it is to get to the College World Series.

Corbin has led the Commodores to Omaha, Nebraska, three times in his 16 seasons in Nashville.

So after Mississippi State punched its 10th-ever ticket to the College World Series on Sunday night – this one amidst all kinds of adversity – Corbin had nothing but good things to say about the Bulldogs and their accomplishments.

“Mississippi State, I just think of them and what they pieced together over the course of the year,” Corbin said. “(MSU interim head coach Gary Henderson) is a good guy and he’s done a marvelous job with that team.”

Henderson came into this season as State’s pitching coach. He ended it as one of only five head coaches to lead the Bulldogs to the College World Series joining Paul Gregory, Ron Polk, Pat McMahon and John Cohen.

In between, there were many twists and turns. Corbin got to experience State’s rise firsthand. Only about a month after Henderson took over at MSU following the abrupt resignation of Andy Cannizaro, Corbin’s Vanderbilt team swept the Bulldogs in a regular season series in Starkville. At the time, State’s season looked like it was heading downhill.

Fast-forward to this past weekend though and the Bulldogs gave the Commodores an up-close view of how things had turned around since their last meeting. MSU defeated Vanderbilt two games to one in one of the closest super regionals of all time. It was a series that featured two walk-off home runs and a wild, 11-inning decisive game that included multiple comebacks and more late-inning drama. In the end, it was MSU who was left standing. It was a sight to see, even for Corbin.

“(Henderson’s) staff has done a marvelous job,” Corbin said. “The leadership on the team just stepped up when they needed to.”

The next step in MSU’s journey will be taken on Saturday. That’s when the Bulldogs will start play in the College World Series. There is no telling what might happen in Omaha, but one thing Corbin knows is that whoever the Bulldogs play at the event will have a fight on their hands.

“In (MSU’s) case, they’ve been through a tough set of circumstances, but what they did is they rose above it – maybe because of it,” Corbin said. “They’re a tough team. There is just no give-in to them whatsoever.”