Bryan Building showdown


Political conventions don’t begin for another couple of months, but the Bryan Building certainly had the feel of one Saturday afternoon.

With roughly 150 fans, administration and media on hand, John Cohen was officially introduced by Greg Byrne as the new MSU baseball coach.

Talk about a political ticket. The two would have given any of the presidential candidates a run for their money.

Here’s the skinny of what Cohen had to say
• He thought briefly about not taking the job ofter talking with Polk and knowing his stance. Briefly, though, is the operative word.
• His focus isn’t Omaha. As he pointed out, MSU has been there, done that. The focus is a national championship.
• He expects all of his coaches, including himself, the players and administration to be recruiting coordinators.
• He called Polk a father figure and said it would be much easier if he had his backing, but he’ll proceed anyway.
• He also said he wasn’t going to concentrate on NCAA rules and become consumed with their policies. They are there and he can’t worry about it. His job is to coach.
• From the day Polk announced his resignation, Cohen said he was interested in the job.
• Greg Byrne said six candidates were interviewed and that he asked UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart for permission on Sunday to speak with Cohen and initial contact was made on Tuesday. An offer was made on Thursday night, and Cohen accepted on Friday morning.
• Cohen’s contract is for four years, with a state salary of $250,000. He’ll also receive a supplement and an incentives package from the Bulldog Foundation, an amount that isn’t being disclosed.  Also, his contract is effective immediately. I’m told Polk is close to being completely moved out of his office.

Now, I’m about to fly to Jackson with Cohen, Byrne, Mike Nemeth and Kyle Veazey of the Clarion Ledger for the second press conference at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, an invitation that was extended earlier today. I’ll blog later tonight on that experience, or in the morning depending on when I return.


25 Responses to “Bryan Building showdown”

  1. theconquistador2 Says:

    I enjoyed the press conference. I am really excited about Cohen and the future of this program. Is it February?

  2. themaroonandwhite Says:

    The main reason I chose Mississippi State was the baseball program. Ron Polk was a legend, a baseball god in my eyes. Today, he is nothing.

  3. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    Congrat, State on your new baseball coach. Hope you disgruntled State fans are happy now. You have burnt a great ole baseball coach at the stakes, one who have pulled you thru many battles. One who have put your name of the poster boards at Omaha many times. So many unthankful fans down there in Stressville that have such short memories. Coach Cohen, hope you can hear and read distant war drums and smoke signals. Could be your name that they are transmiting one of these days.

  4. redsrock1 Says:

    Best coach for MSU! Record speaks for itself. Maybe RP wanted
    what his friend, Skip got to do at LSU and pick his man..smoke.
    Well, that didn’t turn out to be great. It’s whats best for State, not
    whats best for coach Raffo.

  5. bigdraws Says:

    Kinda off topic but LSU’s gettin their butts handed to them.

  6. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    Get that one over with and start a new winning streak.

  7. jsaltillo Says:

    or get that one over with and lose another

  8. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    Shame of you! jsaltillo, you must be from ACC, no patriot SEC fan would wish such on another SEC team.

  9. msu4me Says:

    Jimmy Barbee said “Hope you disgruntled State fans are happy now. You have burnt a great ole baseball coach at the stakes, one who have pulled you thru many battles. One who have put your name of the poster boards at Omaha many times. So many unthankful fans down there in Stressville that have such short memories.”

    Are you nuts? nevermind, I know the answer. From where I sit, the ole baseball coach is attempting to burn OUR program at the stake. He is not bigger than MSU. I have been a huge fan of his since I was a kid. He is destroying his own legacy and making himself look like an idiot. He was allowed to pick his own replacement the first time her retired (more than most coaches get to do). Think back, it didn’t work out that well for MSU. No way he deserves to get to do it again. Also, MSU is not the place to find out if you are a good head coach. We need someone with HC experience and a proven record. Well, looky there that’s what we got. Welcome Home John and Thanks Greg, job well done!

    JB worry about Ole Miss. We dogs will take care of ourselves!

  10. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    msu4me. Yep, I am nuts, will have to commend you on that one,probably been sleeping under the rock too long. Contrary, sir, from where I sit, I believe the ole coach is looking out for State baseball. He is a winner.

    Ole Miss; probably see a better team next season.

    Dogs will take care of themselves, not listening to whinners and losers.

  11. msu4me Says:

    question: If Tommy Raffo is such a great HC prospect, why has no one tried to take him away from us in the last 15 years?
    Also, would Polk really want MSU to give him a 4 year try-out?

    JB, Dogs will take care of themselves. The only whiner we aren’t listening to is Polk. And fyi, it’s ma’am-not sir

  12. charleston11 Says:

    Byrne rubs me the wrong way. He likes the spot light. He opened the press conference today with a shout out to Sly Croom, who was at the press conference. That is the real “slap in the face” remark to Polk from Byrne becasue Polk wasn’t there. I don’t see him around MSU long. Polk will make it miserable on him. I don’t see any players from MSU returning, none. I see many of UK recruits coming to MSU.

  13. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    msu4me. Please forgive. The best to you. Thanks for correcting me.

  14. jcdawgman18 Says:

    Charleston, I don’t know what rubs you the wrong way about Greg. He is personable, gracious, and full of energy for our programs. I don’t know how you say he likes the spotlight, as he made sure this search was kept completely private right up untill the hire. I think you will be surprised by how many players will embrace Cohen, even though they still love Ron Polk. I think eventually we will mend the fences and everyone can enjoy the past and use it as inspiration for the future. I see both Greg and Cohen being there for quite some time.

    msu4me, Tommy actually has had offers for other jobs, but Coach Polk talked him into staying around, promising him this job when he hung it up. I feel worst for Tommy, he did nothing wrong. At the same time, I support the hire of John Cohen 100% and think it was a good decision. I wish Tommy Raffo nothing but the best and would love it if he could somehow stay at State, where he leaves no doubt that his heart really is. Director of Baseball Operations, maybe? I think it is a possibility.

    GO DAWGS!!

  15. nashdawg Says:

    Raffo got shafted! Big time!

  16. Gregg Ellis Says:

    Guys and gals, we just landed back in Starkville, and I’m I will blog tomorrow about the trip. I did learn John Cohen’s wife, Nelle, is a reader of this blog. She made a point of letting me know.
    By the looks of things, it appears you all are quite pleased with the day’s events.

  17. bigdraws Says:

    Nelle we are glad to have you and your husband. Welcome back to the MSU family. As for Byrnes, everytime I have run into the guy. He has taken time out to shake my hand and tell me how much he appreciates the fact that I’m a supporter. He’s a good egg.

  18. theconquistador2 Says:

    Mrs. Cohen,

    I would say congratulations, but I think a THANK YOU is more in order. If the rest of the bulldog family feels as I do then this is one excited and rejuvinated fan base. The MSU program has underachieved for far too long and I think your husband is the answer to our problems. It’s just sad that Ron Polk doesn’t see it like the other 99.9% of the MSU family. I look forward to many many years of success. Hopefully one day the name Cohen will have earned a place at Dudy Noble Field/Dement Stadium.

  19. 2thdoc Says:

    Welcome to both Coach and Nelle Cohen. We hope to soon be sharing with both of you huge crowds that are the envy of the country to see MSU baseball at it’s best. Thank you ahead of time what is likely to be a very exciting future.

  20. nashdawg Says:

    I have said it more than once, only time will tell the real outcome of this decision by single g Byrne.

    Two inclusions, I have conversed w Byrne and have liked his openess w me. The other, I do like Cohen. Watched him during the years he played. Remember the elder gentleman hollar out everytime he came to bat, “Knock it out John!” very good memories. The power of persuasion by the fans and the effect it has had on Byrne, staggers me. Wow, I will never forget the tremendous games over the years at DNF under the #1 Skipper, Ron Polk. “Coach, I’m not turning my back on you. I believe in the principles you have taught the thousands over the years and the great fortitude you choose to stand behind them!”

    If a man looses his convictions, his inner truth of the skills with which he has carried out over a generation, then he has lost the real meaning of why he was put on this earth!

    Peace be with you, Coach!

  21. bedgood Says:

    Afternoon/Morning to the Cohen’s,

    AND WELCOME HOME!! I have talked to many of my friends/alumni from across the country and we are ALL excited about your families return. When I heard about all the events on Friday and Saturday I actually got goose bumps at work because I know the kind of player John was at State and I have seen what kind of coach he has been over the past couple of years. And I know he is serious when he said that we are going to exhaust 100% energy to win a national championship at Mississippi State. I was at State when John was playing and I look forward to seeing him in the Maroon and White again next season!!

    Once again WELCOME!!

  22. maxdawg Says:

    Well Ya gotta change this!

  23. gmvbham7 Says:

    Yesterday was a great day for Mississippi State. John Cohen was absoultely the best choice for our program. I don’t know John personally but feel like I know him well through his dad, Harry Cohen. Professor Cohen was a law professor at Alabama when I was in law school. He was a great inspiration to me as he tought Property and other courses. John transferred to State when I was in law school and when Professor Cohen found out I was a Mississippi State graduate it created a special bond between us. He would talk about John all the time. I still often think about Professor Cohen even though he is now deceased. He was without a doubt the best professor I have ever had. I am so proud of John for his previous accomplishments and what I am sure he will do at State.

  24. charleston11 Says:

    I do see where Polk is coming from though. He thought Byrne should have given the job to Raffo. Since that didn’t happen, Polk is on a war path. Will Raffo stay or go since he and Raffo or tight? Burroughs just accepted the job at Jones CC, will he leave?

  25. Gregg Ellis Says:

    Do we teach our children to act like spoiled little brats when they don’t get their way? I don’t.

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