The 10 to look at


Here are some names that have been mentioned as possible replacements for Ron Polk to lead the Mississippi State baseball program.

How would you rate them, 1-10? Who else would you add to the list?
Pat Casey, Oregon State
Steve Smith, Baylor
John Cohen, Kentucky
Mike Anderson, Nebraska
Dan McDonnell, Louisville
Brian O’Connor, Virginia
Buck Showalter, former Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers manager
Tommy Raffo, MSU assistant
Jeff Brantley, former MSU player and current member of Cincinnati Reds radio crew
Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt


59 Responses to “The 10 to look at”

  1. msudogsrule Says:

    1 Corbin
    2 O’Connor
    3 Casey
    4 Cohen
    5 McDonell
    6 Anderson
    7 Smith
    8 Raffo
    9 Showalter
    10 Brantley

    I would add Mike Fox in the top 3. I figure go for the gusto. I know this sounds stupid, but I am not sold on Casey, despite the back-to-back titles. I have gone back and looked at his record, and in the 10 seasons or so before the last four years, he has been rather average. I would like to know if he captured lighting in a bottle for a couple of seasons, or if he suddenly figured out how to build a winner.

  2. rebelnate Says:

    1.John Cohen
    2. Pat Casey
    3. Steve Smith
    4. Dan McDonnell
    5. Brian O’Connor
    6. Tim Corbin
    7. Mike Anderson
    8. Buck Showalter
    9. Jeff Brantley
    10. Tommy Raffo

  3. Gregg Ellis Says:

    You know, msudogsrule, I thought about adding him to the mix on my own. I really like him and the job he’s done at UNC.

  4. theconquistador2 Says:

    1) Casey
    2) Cohen
    3) Corbin
    4) Anderson
    5) McDonnell
    6) Smith
    7) O’Connor
    8) Raffo
    9) Showalter
    10) Brantley

    Coaches I would add.

    1) Mike Kinnison (DSU)
    2) Rick Jones (Tulane)
    3) Rich Maloney (Michigan)

  5. theconquistador2 Says:

    I have no idea why there is a smiley face there. Raffo should be the in the 8 hole

  6. msudogsrule Says:

    I got to know him at that last regional we hosted, as I was the MSU rep that was always assigned to get them around to the press room, etc., while they were in town. He was very nice and only had great (Manieri-esqe) things to say about the ballpark. Plus his teams always seem to be in contention.

  7. theconquistador2 Says:

    He’s also a UNC grad.

  8. rebelnate Says:

    ******************** BREAKING NEWS ************************

    Ron Polk has decided not to retire.

  9. Gregg Ellis Says:

    theconquistador2, I thought you must have really, really like O’Connor with the smiley.

  10. Gregg Ellis Says:

    Ha! And Jackie comes out of retirement, too.

  11. msudogsrule Says:

    Hey, if we don’t get Mike Fox, I want our version of Fox. A guy who will win 42-45 every year, 50 every now and then, a regional every year (hopefully hosting most years) and a CWS every other year… is that so much to ask for? (note sarcasm)

    BTW, hearing good things about Indiana Jones 4. Looking forward to it mightily.

  12. rebelnate Says:

    Whoever takes over at State has a lot of catching up to do in the recruiting department. Bianco has kind of took over in that category.

  13. rebelnate Says:


  14. msudogsrule Says:

    What about David Perno?

  15. jaybirdms Says:

    Who is the LSU assistant that has been mentioned? I don’t remember where I saw it.

  16. jcdawgman18 Says:

    1. Pat Casey
    2. Buck Showalter
    3. Corbin
    4. John Cohen
    5. Tommy Raffo
    6. Mike Anderson
    7. O’Connor
    8. McDonnell
    9. Brantley
    10. Smith

    Don’t know too much about O’Connor, McDonnell so that is why they are lower. I think Smith is too old and I don’t know that Brantley is ready for the head job but would definitely give him a look as a pitching coach. Showalter would be a nice name in recruiting and I actually know of a couple of underclassmen who could be positively swayed by the hiring of Showalter.

  17. jcdawgman18 Says:

    By the way, we can’t exactly fight back right now, rebelnate. Go ahead and let us have it. Maybe we can turn it around next year.

    Aw, what the heck: We split with y’all. How does that feel?

  18. rebelnate Says:

    Butch Thompson would be a good fit at pitching coach he is from Amory and he recruited the staff at Georgia and is currently at Auburn now. He has put together 3 top 10 recruiting classes while at Auburn.

  19. vurocks Says:

    Better just leave Corbin off those lists! He won’t leave Nashville! He and his wife love it there. They have made it a home. Aside from that — the quality of talent, coaches, and academics at Vanderbilt – the school all around – it simply exceeds all other SEC schools — handily!

  20. theconquistador2 Says:

    Yeah Corbin loves Nashville as does the entire Vandy baseball team. Maybe that’s why they’re always there come June.

  21. Gregg Ellis Says:

    Well, nate, that recruiting hasn’t exactly translated into wins.

  22. rebelnate Says:

    That’s right GG kinda like that 200 million dollar payroll.

  23. Gregg Ellis Says:

    VU, please explain how the quality of talent and coaches exceeds all other SEC schools, handily. I’ll definitely give you the academics.

    But I haven’t exactly seen the Dores, despite some mighty fine talent, in a Super Regional or the College World Series lately.

  24. Gregg Ellis Says:

    Ouch, nate. Ouch. Man, that was below the belt.

  25. rebelnate Says:

    Well our teams have something in common thats all GG

  26. vurocks Says:

    Gregg – I appreciate the “giving” of the academics.
    No CWS for the Dores – true. YET!.
    June 11-12, 2004 – Super Regional in Austin.
    VU has made the SEC tournament every year but one under Corbin – after having not made it in a decade prior. Also, this week, they will be in Hoover defending their SEC tournament championship – yes, as a 6-seed.
    Corbin is the reigning SEC Coach of the Year. (Sidenote-VU eliminated the Bulldogs in the tournament last year and swept them in Starkville this year.)
    Talent – 2007 Draft – 1st and 8th Overall Picks – that doesn’t include Dominic De La Osa (who returned) …53 slots higher than Easley at 61.
    Also, was generally speaking about VU sports talent and coaching – 3 football players drafted – not free agent signings but drafted – more so than the zero at Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and ALABAMA. In football, is it that VU gets the 5 stars – NO, or that they have coaches that can take good athletes and make them great – YES? Our discussion hasn’t yet touched on the basketball team (March 5th). Don’t forget Jensen Lewis and Jeremy Sowers pitching for the Indians – it’s not just David Price.
    I hope I have proved to your satisfaction. I feel that too many are stuck in an outdated, TRADITIONAL

  27. vurocks Says:

    opinion of VU. New and improved, don’t you think?

    Welcome to the new VU!

    Agree, Gregg?

  28. rebelnate Says:

    Vandy has no tradition in anything except maybe nerd tossing.

  29. Gregg Ellis Says:

    No doubt the overall standings of VU athletics has improved. But I still wouldn’t put the overall ratings in the Top 8 of the league.

    Yes. Baseball is better. Much better. Football is better too, but I think they have underachieved the previous two years. Basketball should always be good.

    Now, don’t get too giddy about sweeping MSU this year. Remember, they only won two series.

    But improved. Yes.

  30. rebelnate Says:

    They got swept by Ole Miss

  31. vurocks Says:

    Definitely improving. How is MSU athletics in your honest opinion Gregg? Sorry – but VU is definitely in top 8 – probably 6 of conference – as originally said – especially in the overall picture – not just athletics – academics, athletics, etc. – all teams – $$$ sports – and golf and tennis and track and….
    Rebelnate-Yes VU was swept by Ole Miss. I congratulate Ole Miss on beating such an outstanding team.

  32. jcdawgman18 Says:

    Getting players drafted does not mean you have a better football program.
    Making a bowl game would be a good start.
    We’ll deal with this in the fall.

  33. dawg3 Says:

    What about John Pawlowski (College of Charleston)?

  34. nashdawg Says:

    1 McDonell
    2 Anderson
    3 O’Connor
    4 Casey
    5 Raffo
    6 Cohen
    7 Smith
    8 Jim Morris, UMiami-Florida
    9 Joe Urso, Univ. of Tampa
    10 Carl Lancaster, Mount Olive Div II

  35. dc31 Says:

    Pat Casey plays too much small ball. They bunt almost every at bat, even with the heavy hitters. First year that they won it all, they really weren’t even supposed to be in the tournament, barely made it in

    1. Cohen
    2. Louisville’s coach
    3. Vandy’s coach…winning anything at Vandy is next to a minor miracle

  36. methuselah1933 Says:

    vurocks, ole methuselah try help you in jungle dat yu in wish me there when da rock hit yu head did bad damage you need help call ole methuselah

    bully dawgs need no help dey be back take wind out sails out of commddors enjoy your now trip now

    dem rebels should taugt you lesson in baseball some nevr learn

  37. charleston11 Says:

    This from the Clarion Ledger. Greg, why no mention of DSU’s Kinnison?

    Mike Anderson, Nebraska head coach
    Age: 42
    College: Northern Colorado
    Record: 253-111-1 in sixth season at Nebraska
    Current season: 39-11-1, 17-8-1 Big 12 (3rd)
    Notable: A Husker assistant before taking over the top job, Anderson has guided Nebraska to four NCAA Regionals in five seasons and the 2005 College World Series.

    Pat Casey, Oregon State head coach
    Age: 49
    College: Portland, George Fox
    Record: 636-406-5 overall, 460-293-4 in 14th season at Oregon State
    Current season: 25-22, 11-12 Pac 10 (5th)
    Notable: A longshot? Sure, but Casey and Greg Byrne, who will lead MSU’s search, used to work together, providing a connection.

    John Cohen, Kentucky head coach
    Age: 41
    College: Mississippi State
    Record: 318-192-1 overall, 172-108-1 in fifth season at Kentucky
    Current season: 41-15, 16-14 SEC (2nd-East)
    Notable: The 2006 SEC coach of the year has gotten once-dormant Kentucky off the mat and contending with a high-powered offense.

    Tim Jamieson, Missouri head coach
    Age: Unknown
    College: New Orleans
    Record: 477-325-2 in 14th season at Missouri
    Current season: 36-17, 15-11 Big 12 (4th)
    Notable: Mizzou has played in five straight NCAA regionals under Jamieson, a Columbia, Mo., native who was last year’s Big 12 co-coach of the year.

    Mike Kinnison, Delta State head coach
    Age: 53
    College: Delta State
    Record: 551-147 in 12th season at DSU
    Current season: 47-9, in and hosting NCAA Division II South Central Regional
    Notable: The Benton native had major success in Cleveland, but would it translate to the Southeastern Conference?

    Dan McDonnell, Louisville head coach
    Age: 37
    College: The Citadel
    Record: 84-43 in second season at Louisville
    Current season: 37-19, 16-10 Big East (4th)
    Notable: McDonnell spent six years as an assistant at Ole Miss immediately prior to getting the Louisville job and is widely regarded as a top recruiter.

    Tommy Raffo, Mississippi State assistant coach
    Age: 40
    College: Mississippi State
    Record: Has never been a head coach
    Notable: A Mississippi State assistant since 1994 and former player, Raffo is Polk’s choice to succeed him.

    Buck Showalter, Cleveland Indians senior adviser
    Age: 51
    College: Mississippi State
    Notalbe: Want an out-of-the-box hire? How about the former Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers manager? He’s an MSU alum.

    Steve Smith, Baylor head coach
    Age: 46
    College: Baylor, Mississippi College
    Record: 521-334-1 in 14th season at Baylor
    Current season: 31-23, 11-15 Big 12 (6th)
    Notable: A Gulfport native, Smith was an assistant at Mississippi State from 1990 to 1994 and has won two Big 12 titles at Baylor.

  38. methuselah1933 Says:

    methuselah got good resume go back many years

  39. bigdraws Says:

    That’s a pretty good rundown right there. Thanks for the info man.

  40. bigdraws Says:

    Better copy and paste. It’ll be gone when GG see’s it.

  41. vurocks Says:

    jcdawgman18 – in response to 5:03 PM comment
    I was responding to Gregg’s question regarding the level of talent at VU from 4:09 PM when talking about getting players drafted.
    You must agree this illustrates this.
    Making a bowl game is a necessary piece to the puzzle; I will not deny. And yes, this is not in the mix. YET! – but the steady improvement after YEARS of agony and defeat is undeniable – would rather actually do it right – get the changes that will sustain over the long haul – then a “one-hit wonder” year.
    Dores can not wait to play the ‘Dawgs again in the fall – hope to make it two victories over State in a row. 2004 (31-13 Oct. 2, 2004)

  42. vurocks Says:

    I definitely think that State should get someone young and a proven winner. Cohen should seriously be considered amongst all others.

  43. nashdawg Says:

    Having Cohen & Raffo in the mix puts things at odds against one another. LT would have already made the choice official. Byrne will now carry the weight of the choice. I really would not want to be in his shoes!

    I know Coach Polk has made his—loyalty goes a long way with him, as it does myself,…and I realize I posted my lineup with some inclusions into the fray, but I have to go with Raffo over Cohen.

  44. bigdraws Says:

    I repectfully disagree nash. I think we need a fresh face to the program. I’m worried if we hire on Raffo, we’ll keep McNickle. That would be bad right from the start. The program is mired in mediority, and the fan base has lost interest. I’ll be very disappointed if Raffo is the hire.

  45. nashdawg Says:

    draws, I hear you…McNickle is a broken piece in the organization. Now that you bring that to mind, I would be worried that Raffo will retain him as well. Thus, my thankfulness that I’m not in Bryne’s shoes. I just hate it for him though. He’s been here a long time. Paid his dues…his wife and children, etc… I guess the larger question is, does Bryne have the fortitude to make the hard call? Good to hear from you today, draws!

  46. bigdraws Says:

    Yall doing any better?

  47. theconquistador2 Says:

    If you listened to Saturday’s post game, Polk specifically said that he was letting McNickle and Raffo do the end of the year meeting with each player since he wanted them to be there next year.

  48. nashdawg Says:

    draws, yes, fantastic news! Dad has made significant improvement. It’s like all of sudden, a light comes on. Dad is now following commands and recognizing us with improved clarity. Amazing…it’s been all this time, and it’s like he just woke up from a long sleep. Today, he went outside in a wheel chair for the first time since March 22nd. He is very weak, physically, but definitely on the way upward. Brothers, I thank you for your prayers!

  49. bigdraws Says:

    That’s great Nash!!! Glad to hear it, man. I hope he continues recovering. I’ll definatly keep ya in prayers.

  50. vurocks Says:

    Also respectfully disagree with you regarding Raffo as the necessary choice. This is a major opportunity for MSU to establish a new and fresh face to the program – a new face to the tradition of excellence. It’s great that Raffo was able to coach at his alma mater; however, no one owes him anything. You earn stuff. Why not establish yourself as the premier young coach and then return to your alma mater when the coach of many years finally retires? Very tragic indeed; however, MSU needs to not feel bound to Polk, Raffo, or anyone. No hard call here. A fine program with a great tradition should expect the BEST – and should not settle for anything less than that –

    HOWEVER, since the BEST is TIM CORBIN – you will have to settle for the 2nd Best!

    Cohen is the man!
    Here’s the guy who y’all should really pursue!!!…
    The coach at FL – Kevin O’ Sullivan – Shared office at Clemson with Corbin under Jack Leggett – investigate the success of Leggett prodigies – you’ll be offering O’Sullivan in a heart beat.

    Remember – “Bold choices and bold steps produce bold results.” – A personal belief.

    REBELNATE – Quit hating on the ‘Dores.
    Like the Dawgs, who Vandy DEFEATED the last time they played in football and basketball and DEFEATED the last four times in baseball…Vanderbilt DEFEATED Ole Miss 31-17 on September 15 of last year. We look forward to playing the Rebels as well again this year.

  51. Gregg Ellis Says:

    Nash, that is great news.

  52. nashdawg Says:

    Vurocks, Corbin is good coach. And, he’s sitting on a money pit. Vandy will dump him bf he dumps them. Nashville, Bellevue nope, Corbin’s setup.

  53. vurocks Says:


    Money pit for sure.Just increased NCC contribution-mostly to keep DJ/EB/TC. Very hard to see Vandy dumping Corbin – extremely high popularity…university is not “quick on the gun” as far as firing goes.And don’t anticipate a “say below .500” season any time in the near future.

    e-mailed Coach Corbin this AM – twice – Both of his replies indicate the ‘Dores are ready to defend the title.

    Anyone notice the $50 million / 5 phase / multi-facily upgrade at Vanderbilt announced yesterday – must be improving to be worthy of such investment. Goog luck to all those teams – rebelnate (Ole Miss) – in the SEC in Hoover – this week.

  54. bigdraws Says:

    What are they upgrading?

  55. rebelnate Says:

    I hope Pedro Alvarez gets one in the ear hole tonight and Mikey Minor takes a line drive off the tip of the nose.

  56. bigdraws Says:

    And the head of the Athletic Dept. get a line drive off the……..oh, wait.

  57. rebelnate Says:

    LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t have to worry about that.

    vurocks you are right about Vandy not pulling the trigger about firing head coaches look at Bobby Johnson if he was anywhere else in the country he would have been fired a long time ago.

  58. bigdraws Says:

    best quote ever was by Fred Smoot talking to a Vandy wide receiver….

    “I might let you catch one, if you do my homework.”

  59. nashdawg Says:

    Draws, here I am drivin home from the hospital late wed nite and find this great quote. I had to laugh! The picture…

    I know, vurocks, the student athletes at Vandy all graduate. Vandy is in a different world all together, in more ways than one. I lived in the Nashville area about 5 years. Was at the Vandy-UK ftbl gm when they broke their conference losing streak. They carried their goal posts down the street. I actually had planned on attending med schl there. But life happens…

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