Smith on Sports: Should MSU be looking anywhere else for a baseball coach at this point?

Danny P. Smith
Staff Writer

What if the Mississippi State Bulldogs found a head baseball coach that has won two national coach of the year honors this year and took his team to Omaha, Nebraska, for the College World Series?

Wait a minute. The Bulldogs already have that in Gary Henderson.

Henderson continues to lead MSU to one of the most impressive seasons in school history.

The Bulldogs indeed made it to the College World Series and now have 38 wins this season after defeating the Washington Huskies 1-0 on Saturday night in another exciting walk-off decision.

It has been quite a turnaround for MSU after one time being 14-15 overall and 2-7 after three Southeastern Conference series. Henderson presented the Bulldogs with a plan, they accepted it and put it into motion.

State finished the regular season strong and worked its way to a 15-15 conference mark, which was good enough to make the NCAA Tournament. Once there, the Bulldogs took advantage of it with an NCAA Tallahassee Regional championship and an NCAA Nashville Super Regional title. They have a 7-2 mark since the NCAA Tournament began.

With MSU’s recent success, Henderson has been recognized.

Only three days after receiving the Perfect Game/Rawlings Coach of the Year, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association selected Henderson its National Coach of the Year before Saturday’s game with Washington. Not bad for a coach who wasn’t even chosen the SEC Coach of the Year.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Henderson didn’t use any magic or have any great motivational speeches to get the Bulldogs to play better. All he told them was form an identity of playing hard and representing the school in the best way possible.

The players bought into it and that has gotten MSU to this point where it is one of the final eight teams standing in college baseball and a chance at the first national championship in school history.

With what Henderson has done, especially late in the season, does State Athletics Director John Cohen have any other option at this point?

I don’t know who Cohen has interviewed or even contacted about the head coach position of the Bulldogs, but what better resume can they have than the one Henderson has built this year? What better interview can Henderson give than what he’s provided lately?

The main question in all of this. Does Henderson want to continue to be a head coach? He hasn’t indicated one way or another whether he wants the permanent job at MSU. Henderson seems to have enjoyed this run as much as anyone and at age 57, he still has some good years left for being a head coach.

If the desire is there and he wants it, how can Cohen not make Henderson the permanent head coach of the Bulldogs?

Danny P. Smith is the sports editor and columnist for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.