Why Raffo and not Cohen


Not long after the media quizzed John Cohen on his interest in Mississippi State, it was Ron Polk’s turn to answer questions.

My question was, why the endorsement with Tommy Raffo and not someone with a proven record as a head coach, like Cohen.

“Tommy Raffo has played for me and has been here 19 years,” Polk said. “He’s on site, he knows the kids, he knows the program, more even than John because John’s been gone a long time. He knows the Dugout Club makeup, the foster parent program, the summer camp, our assistant coaches, our players, our managers, our trainers, our athletic administration. It’s a no-brainer in my mind that he deserves this opportunity. John Cohen would be a good choice and some of the others would be good choices. But, I think Tommy deserves an opportunity.”

He added he endorsed David Perno at Georgia and admitted it took a month of convincing then AD Vince Dooley to make the hire.”That’s turned out pretty good,” Polk said.


65 Responses to “Why Raffo and not Cohen”

  1. bedgood Says:

    On A side basketball note, I see “Hopson” has commited to Tennessee. What happened? Except for a few posters, I thought everybody was 100% sure he was coming to State. No integrity anymore.

  2. theconquistador2 Says:

    Well Ron, Perno is doing a good Job at UGA but we’re not talking about UGA.

  3. gme22 Says:

    Then Polk should step down and let Raffo be skipper Jr. for the rest of the year and lets see how that goes.

  4. theconquistador2 Says:

    Polk said “He knows the program more than John. He nows the assistant coaches, players, trainers, administration.”

    So does Russ McNickle. So should Russ get the job if Raffo doesn’t? I don’t care about who he knows can he be a head coach? Guess what? Nobody knows and that’s why he shouldn’t get the job. If he wanted to be the head coach at MSU he should have become a head coach at another school (like many other assistants) and proved himself.

  5. imabulldog Says:

    They need to let my old boss, Phil Silva coach the team.

  6. imabulldog Says:

    Phil is the man!

  7. bigdraws Says:

    Polk needs to shut the hell up. I’m sick of him insisting Raffo gets the job. This program needs a breath of fresh air.

  8. msu21 Says:

    I believe that we are about to witness a “bad break-up” between MSU and Ron Polk! Anybody wanna bet?

  9. bigdraws Says:

    If they do, it’s his fault. Cause the only reason that would happen would be because they didn’t hire Raffo.

  10. msu21 Says:

    I totally agree it would be Polk’s own fault! I just believe that he is putting the baseball program and athletic admin. in a bad position by endorsing Raffo……I mean let the man interview and compare him to a list of other candidates and select the best man! I guarantee you that more people or more qualified than Raffo to take over a program like MSU…..

  11. fun2bmaroon Says:

    I believe that we need to leave the “Hiring” to our newest SEC Athletic Director, Greg Byrnes…..Besides, we’re paying him the “Big Bucks” to make these decisions now, aren’t we ?

    Surely, there will be a window of opportuninty for Mr. Byrnes to interview all capable coaches that are interested in this job and I’m sure that each coach interviewed will have “atta boy” recommendations from their corner. Life is so easy…..people make it hard…….

  12. South Panola Dawg Says:

    The fact he’s been here 19 years is a reason NOT to hire him. He doesn’t have the guts to step outside his comfort zone, which is what is required of a head coach. If he’d left and proven himself somewhere else, I think most fans would be ok with Raffo. As it is, we need change. Raffo is too closely associated with Polk’s regime and attitude that doesn’t place a decided emphasis on winning every game. I know it isn’t possible in baseball, but you should never be happy to just “not get swept.” And Polk/Raffo have that attitude towards winning. Bigdraws is right, we need a breath of fresh air. Cohen is the obvious choice. If he can win at UK, he can win anywhere.

  13. jaybirdms Says:

    I say Raffo. Mostly because I don’t like it when people agree with draws. Other than that, I can’t think of a reason.

  14. thespear Says:

    Who is going to lead the search? Byrne? Do we know yet?

  15. Braves Dawg Says:


  16. msu21 Says:

    I believe Greg Byrne is leading the national search. Greg may can confirm this.

  17. maroon3 Says:

    I think Polk is a baseball genius. Whoever we get will not compare favorably to him. Posters here have compared him directly to Joe Paterno and indirectly to Bear Bryant. I think those are valid comparisons. He has done more for our program, our school and our state than any other single person ever hired by MSU (so far!). I cannot understand why so many posters are so negative about him–you’d think he coached for UM! If Coach Polk endorses Raffo, then I think Raffo deserves a look– along with other cadidates.

  18. bigdraws Says:

    I agree that he’s done a lot. And I don’t argue that, but it’s time for him to step down. Even he’ll tell you that. The program has struggled mightily for a while. We all enjoyed the run he had in the post season last year. But lets be honest, that was lightning caught in a bottle. The program is not in good shape right now. We need a breath of fresh air as I stated before. Here is a list of our conference records since his return. We have been passed by just about every program in the SEC, and haven’t won the division yet. Our recruting is part of the problem. And that goes straight to the coaching staff.

    2002 Mississippi State 14 15 .483
    2003 Mississippi State 17 12 .586
    2004 Mississippi State 13 17 .433
    2005 Mississippi State 13 16 .448
    2006 Mississippi State 12 17 .414
    2007 Mississippi State 15 13 .536

  19. carwwest Says:

    i agree hat polk is one of the greats…..but i also think that he shouldnt be putting down other MSU alum in cohen when talking about raffo……raffo is a great guy and a good coach but there has to be something said about him never becoming a head coach in this many years……he picked mcmahan which was fine but that didnt really last…..i think cohen would do a lot better, and has anyone else been mentioned about this job besides these 2?? what about that baylor coach??….

  20. fun2bmaroon Says:

    I concur, maroon3…. some of the “rookies” here do not understand what this coach has done for SEC and College Baseball…..They JUST DON’T GET IT… and they never will….it was before THEIR time….when they were still in their little diapers….but us old grizzled fans that GO BACK 30 years, know the real HARD WORK and DEDICATION that this Coach has put in….and they can YADA YADA YADA and BLAH BLAH BLAH all they want to …..what they don’t understand is where we are at now BECAUSE

  21. fun2bmaroon Says:

    of where we have BEEN….I don’t think they understand logic….

  22. bigdraws Says:

    Hey fun2banass, I’ve been going to games at DNF since the early ’80’s. It’s people like you who don’t want change that are causing our program to spin our wheels. Where we ARE AT NOW (not sure what capitalizing does) is waaaaaaay behind where we were 20 years ago. As I said before, I admire Polk and what he has done. Done more for college baseball than any other person in history. But how does this make Raffo the right guy? Please tell me that.

  23. jaybirdms Says:

    As a coach, Polk is NOT up there with Joe Pa and Bear Bryant. He’s definitely top 10, possibly top 5, not top 2 or 3. As an ambassador for College Baseball, he IS the top guy.

  24. Braves Dawg Says:

    In knew you were related to Jimmy Barbee with all that senior citizen talk!

  25. imabulldog Says:

    Draws, you are dang right, I understand what Polk has given, but its time to move on- from him, his recruiting, his strategy, yada yada, and any sucessor of the same breed. The game has changed!

  26. bigdraws Says:

    I agree fun2b, you’re old.

  27. imabulldog Says:

    sorry, had to use yada, that’s what us idiots say right 🙂

  28. bigdraws Says:

    Us YOUNG idiots. It was nice to be called young though.

  29. imabulldog Says:

    Draws is right fun2b, its that mentality of holding on to the past that’s hurting our program

  30. bigdraws Says:

    That’s all I’m trying to say. Hiring Raffo would be a step sideways instead of a step ahead.

  31. imabulldog Says:

    its like the idiots who wanted us to keep Sherill

  32. thingreenline Says:

    The program is so well respected, it will be interesting to see what kind of search takes place. Of course, I’m sure nobody will be quoted as to who is actually on the list. If we default to Raffo, it’ll be a freakin’ wuss choice. Byrne needs to show he’s up for the job by doing a thorough hiring on this one. This is MSU baseball we’re talking about. The list should be lengthy. To hire from within would be retarded.

  33. fun2bmaroon Says:

    Man, do I know how to start some conversation !!….. OK, I’ll agree to disagree with all the naysayers. Just know this….the Athletic Director will make the final decision on who our new baseball coach is, and if we’re the kind of fans that we should be, we will support him 100% !!! Let’s just enjoy the CURRENT SEASON for now, can we ???????

  34. thingreenline Says:

    What’s to enjoy?

  35. farley662 Says:

    fun2b, you said you gave OM a standing ovation in your living room the other night you pompass jackass. That disqualifies you from any opinion on State sports whatsoever!

  36. bigdraws Says:

    Yeah, I just love sub .500 baseball.

  37. thingreenline Says:

    fun2b is like the retarded kids that get free seats at every game. Clapping while you get your ass destroyed.

  38. Braves Dawg Says:

    We have a new nominee…..

  39. bigdraws Says:

    LMAO! greenline.

  40. Braves Dawg Says:

    That mf’er was talking about my mama too!

  41. Braves Dawg Says:

    Oops! Wrong blog!

  42. bigdraws Says:

    fun2b, has decided to call me out on PA’s blog so no one else will see it. Oh well, I’m out.

  43. fun2bmaroon Says:

    Sorry that you feel that way, bigdraws…..I’m not calling you out….simply trying to share comments that we disagree about…..and trying to find things that we can share “middle of the road” together…..

  44. crosstowndawg Says:

    It’s not about not understanding Polk’s hard work and accomplishments, maroon3 andfun2bmaroon. I have great respect for Coach Polk and appreciate all of that, but that does not change the fact that it’s the MSU baseball program’s best interest that’s at issue here, not his, nor Raffo’s, the coaching staff’s, diamond girls’, etc. The diamond girl comment was just laughable. And the new coach will hire his own staff; as the head coach goes, the staff goes. This just comes with the territory. Our CAREER assistants have been fortunate that they haven’t had to move around like most assistants, but that certainly doesn’t mean that we should make sure they get to stay put at the expense of our program. Nor does it matter that Raffo “knows the program” in the context that Polk is using the phrase. What’s important is that our new coach understand our tradition, atmosphere, and most importantly, our expectations. Cohen understands this every bit as much as Raffo, and possibly more because he hasn’t been subject to the mediocrity that has become MSU baseball.

    More importantly, he has also proven (by breaking out on his own like all other assistants who aspire to be head coaches) that he can run a successful program. Raffo has not. It’s not important that we get Polk II and run every facet of the program (camps, recruiting, pre-game meals, etc.) as he would. Maintaining the status quo is not what we need. We need a coach to restore MSU baseball to SEC prominence and hosting regionals on a regular basis.

    I don’t have any problem with Raffo as a person. I’m sure he’s a great person and has great love for MSU. I appreciate his allegiance as both a Bulldog coach and player. However, that does not mean he deserves the job. He may deserve a courtesy “look,” but I doubt it, and it’s hard to imagine his resume’ stacking up very well against Cohen’s (or any other obvious candidate’s). If in-house seniority or length of time on the payroll is the standard, then we should have hired Jack Cristil to replace Templeton. He’s sure as hell put in his time and is as qualified to be AD as Raffo is to be head coach. If Raffo wants to be the head coach, he needs to go out, pay his dues, and prove his worth, just as Cohen and many others have done.

    As noted, I have great respect and appreciation for Polk’s accomplishments. However, he’s beginning to lose some of my respect with the way he’s acting. It’s one thing to endorse a candidate, which Polk has every right to do, but it’s entirely different to put the University in this position by throwing such a fit about it publicly, especially when the candidate he’s endorsing is obviously lacking the credentials. If it weren’t for Polk’s whining, there’s no way Raffo gets serious consideration, and he knows that. That’s why his announcement has come at the most inopportune time imaginable. He said himself that he knew before the start of the season that the timing was in effort to protect his assitants.

    Polk acts as if he it’s his right to name his successor. What he apparently fails to realize is that this is not Ron Polk University. I know he was instrumental in building MSU baseball to what it is, but, as appreciative as I am, I don’t think we owe him anything. He’s named his successor once already, and we named the damn stadium after him. Then after the ol’ skipper had coached an opposing team in POLK-Dement Stadium, and his successor had bailed on us, we let him have his job back. Not only that, but we let him leave on his on will. ANY other coach would have been fired for the sub-MSU performance we’ve seen for most of Polk’s second stint. He appropriately wasn’t, because he’s largely responsible for establishing our high expectations. However, I think we’ve given him enough. If things end sourly with Polk and MSU, it will be on him. It’s wrong for him to put us in this position. You would think if he truly cared about the success of program, he’d advise considering several candidates and hiring the one best suited for MSU, not publicly insist that he should name his successor and Raffo should get the job. He hasn’t given us one fact to support the idea that Raffo is qualified to be MSU’s coach, only a conclusory assertion that he’s “ready to take over the program,” and that the transition would be smooth. Again, whose best interest are we talking?

  45. thespear Says:

    fun2, Polk is a great coach, dont think you find a poster here that denies that! However, do you really think his coaching success qualifies him as an Athletic Director. I dont think so. When a great like Polk speaks you listen, but then go look at the facts from an objective standpoint! Raffo, dont know him personally, prob great guy, but not a proven head coach. Cohen, and several other candidates, are proven as the head honcho! Polk deserves all the respect in the world, but that doesnt mean you always have to do everything he says!

  46. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    Just a thought!! Maybe State and Ole Miss, both, should take out from the film Library the film: “Good News Bears”. Could be educational. Anyway, just a throught!

  47. fun2bmaroon Says:

    Well put, thespear, but if you will reread my earlier post above, you will see that I have stated that Mr. Byrnes, our Athletic Director needs to make the call as to who our new Baseball Coach will be…..It’s in the earlier post above……And again, I agree with you that Coach Polk has been a great coach for our team. What I do know, is that Greg Byrnes will have the final decision, and that’s what we all want as fans, to decide on the best successor for Coach Polk, and to energize our team to the next level.

  48. maroon3 Says:

    I guess for me it comes down to this…If you respect Coach Polk, you do not bad mouth him, you do not wish for him to be gone sooner, you do not ignore or defy his recommendations about his successor.

  49. crosstowndawg Says:

    So if you respect someone that means you have to completely adopt their beliefs and do exactly as they say? That’s preposterous. There are plenty of people I respect but don’t necessarily agree with on everything, and I’m certainly not gonna make an illadvised decision to avoid offending them. What if two people for which you had equal respect were in direct opposition on a partciular issue?

    How did I badmouth Polk?

  50. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    It looks like now that the State Athletic sports programs, with any credentials, will be carried by that great Basketball team and some of the women programs thats going on down there. Granted, the Football team excelled marginally, but really lucked out this season in making it to a bowl game. This can be a thankful jesture to them by the Ole Miss team coaches. The act of sympathy that gave them the final game of the season.

    Coach Polk is a great college baseball coach. He has proven this throughtout his career. I believe that he is trying to look out for State’s future and keep the Dawgs in the hunt.

  51. carwwest Says:

    i wouldnt bad mouth polk ever……i mean i honestly wouldnt care if he stayed or left just because he has earned that right to make it his own decision……i mean we did make it omaha last year….you really cant blame him for everyone leaving……but i do think byrne(or whoever is taking control) shouldnt be influenced by polk even though he has done so much for us…..

  52. fun2bmaroon Says:

    I think Greg, or GG, or whoever he is….needs to start a new thread….this one’s about worn out……You listening ????

  53. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    carwest, you hit the nail right on the head, Coach Polk lead his team to Omaha last season, something no other SEC coach was able to do. Those great college baseball coach have a ways to accomplish this.

  54. bigdraws Says:

    On a different note, Varnardo got national defensive player of the year.

  55. Gregg Ellis Says:

    kinda, draws. There is no “national” recognition. Just another web site that gives out awards. Heck, this blog might start doing just that too.

    Anyway, it is nice for Varnado to be recognized.

  56. bigdraws Says:

    You’ll need some sponsorship first.

  57. Gregg Ellis Says:

    I’m sure you and I can work out a deal. LOL!

  58. bigdraws Says:

    Yeah, I’m planning on cutting the lights off in Tunica this weekend.

  59. Gregg Ellis Says:

    What do you play?

  60. bigdraws Says:

    like the blackjack, but easier to win money on the roullette wheel.

  61. carwwest Says:

    he…im going to tunica with a bunch of friends next weekend….i sit a the speed roulette table for HOURS!

  62. bigdraws Says:

    Where ya play at. I like sams town and fitz. Like the grand too but they always take my money.

  63. nearlynormalized Says:

    Is it because the man is “Jewish?”

  64. Gregg Ellis Says:

    Meaning what, nearlynormalized?

  65. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    Good luck,all, on the Tunica trip. They turned those old cotton patches in delta country, into parking lots and recreational areas.

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