3 things to know about new Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis
Mississippi State announced Chris Lemonis as its new baseball coach on Monday afternoon. Lemonis, who has led Indiana’s program for the past four years, replaces interim head coach Gary Henderson following the Bulldogs’ run to the doorstep of a national championship series. Here are three things to know about Lemonis:
Lemonis played college baseball at The Citadel, where he appeared in the 1990 College World Series. He earned All-SoCon recognition twice.
As a senior, Lemonis led the Bulldogs with a .367 batting average and 10 home runs. He ranks 11th all-time in home runs (23) at The Citadel. A year after his college career ended, Lemonis started coaching at The Citadel. For 12 years there Lemonis worked as an assistant.
Then, in 2007, Lemonis rejoined a former Citadel teammate of his when Dan McDonnell hired Lemonis for his staff at Louisville. Lemonis spent the next eight years there, helping the Cardinals reach the College World Series three times and record three 50-win seasons.
In 2013, Lemonis was named the American Baseball Coaches Association/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year. On July 2, 2014, Indiana hired Lemonis to lead its baseball program. Lemonis went 141-91-2 at Indiana, including a 40-win season this year.
Let's talk about it:What is Mississippi State getting in Chris Lemonis?
Lemonis has a reputation as an ace recruiter due to the eight years he spent as Louisville’s recruiting coordinator. Lemonis’ recruiting classes at Louisville were not always highly ranked — in 2012 Perfect Game ranked the Cardinals’ class No. 38 in the country — but the teams always performed well.
Louisville perennially has one of the best teams in the country now, and it reached the NCAA regionals every year Lemonis spent on staff. In his 24 years of coaching, 69 of Lemonis’ players have been selected in the MLB Draft, including a Louisville-record 10 in the 2010 MLB Draft.
Mississippi State is replacing an interim coach who just led the Bulldogs deep into baseball’s postseason, so the expectations on Lemonis will be to do the same — and more.
Lemonis has reached the College World Series four times: once as a player and three times as an assistant coach. The Hoosiers never won the Big Ten tournament under Lemonis, and though they made three NCAA regional appearances during Lemonis’ tenure (he became the first Indiana coach to make the regional round twice in his first three seasons), they never advanced to a super regional, much less the College World Series.
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