No money in the bat . . . oops

by

On Saturday while covering two press conferences in Starkville and Jackson regarding the same subject – the hiring of John Cohen as MSU’s 15th baseball coach in school history – I had a chance to speak with Nelle Cohen about her husband.

One of the stories she told me was about a chemistry class they took together in high school.

“One day,” she said. “John came to class carrying his bat. I told him, ‘Why are you carrying that bat around? It’s not like you are going to make any money with it.'”

Well, she missed the boat on that one. We’ll give her a pass.

On the 25-minute flight to Jackson from Starkville, which was smooth sailing and indeed the way to travel, Kyle Veazey of the Clarion Ledger and myself had the chance to just chat with John.

Here are some things we learned:
* He gets his intensity and organizational skills from his father, Harry, a former law professor at Alabama who passed away this past fall.
* He did talk briefly with Auburn about its vacancy.
* He is greatly concerned about his strained relationship with Tommy Raffo and hopes the two can sit down and talk soon. He called Tommy a great friend and acknowledged their families have vacationed together.
* There’s no doubting the admiration he has for Ron Polk, despite the coach’s concerning and outlandish behavior in recent days. But he said early on in his coaching career, he learned he had to be himself and not try to be Ron Polk.
* With the success Southern Miss and Ole Miss has enjoyed in recent years, he said recruiting is going to the key, noting that’s the main reasons they have elevated their programs.
* Today and Monday, he’s going to be working the phone, calling current MSU players and signees, as well as making contact with Kentucky players and signees to explain his decision to leave.

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15 Responses to “No money in the bat . . . oops”

  1. thingreenline Says:

    You gotta feel bad for Raffo, but how can you blame a guy for taking a head coaching job at MSU? If there was a closed-door assurance from Polk that TR would get it, then Polk is the man he should be pissed at.

    I assume Raffo was unavailable for comment?

  2. Gregg Ellis Says:

    You assume correctly. He didn’t want to take away John’s day. I have a lot of respect for Tommy and I have a feeling he won’t be without a job for very long.

  3. themaroonandwhite Says:

    I dont know Raffo…but he needs to come out strongly in support of Cohen and the Mississippi State baseball program.

  4. 83dawg Says:

    Gregg, just wondering why there were two press conferences yesterday to introduce Cohen? What was the reasoning behind that?

    You’re doing a great job. Thanks!

  5. Blake Says:

    Does the DJ not provide you with private jet rides often?

    Gregg, do you think there’s a chance to get reactions from both current and former baseball players? I realize it might be a little difficult for some of them since they’re out playing summer ball. But very interesting.

  6. 2thdoc Says:

    Maybe our first baseball transfer. Keep the pitchers coming Coach Cohen….Gregg, delete the link if needed from this UK paper

    http://www.ukwildcatcountry.com/2008/06/kentucky-baseball-dam-is-leaking.html

  7. carwwest Says:

    this is off subject but rashun dixon got drafted late by the oakland A’s….gregg, do you know if he will stay committed or go the the majors?? i know he said he would probably stay if he wasnt drafted in the first three rounds but you never know anymore…..

  8. thespear Says:

    After following last season half heartedly, I am so pumped for what MSU baseball has in store for us next season! Thanks to Byrne for an excellent hire!

  9. jcdawgman18 Says:

    carwest, he says he needs 600K to sign. If not, he will be a Bulldog.

  10. charleston11 Says:

    LSU just went ahead of UC Irvine, Alex Box is rocking! I know there is a game 3 tomorrow but look for LSU to make noise in Omaha.

  11. theconquistador2 Says:

    The player that decommitted from UK that 2thdoc referenced is the 19th ranked player on Rivals Top 100. I searched his name on MLB’s draft tracker and he was taken in the 12th round by Arizona. I watched just a little bit of their scouting video and he hit 94 mph several times.

  12. bigdraws Says:

    LSU will be lucky to make it to Omaha. They were getting handled for the first 17 innings of the tourney.

  13. southavendawg Says:

    Gregg, one perspective that I have not been able to see in all of this has to do with LT. Was he at either of the press conferences and does he side with Polk or Byrne? Also, if he was calling the shots, is it a given that he would have promoted Raffo? Just curious of your thoughts.

  14. bigdraws Says:

    He was not at the presser. Said he didn’t want to cause a distraction.

  15. Gregg Ellis Says:

    OK. I’m going to try and answer your questoins.

    83dawg, really, there was only one press conference. The purpose of going to Jackson was more or less a PR move and a chance for Jackson-area folks to meet and greet with Cohen and Byrne. Now, there were a few media types on hand, but most the main presser was in Starkville.

    Blake, trust me, attempts were made to reach players. Some just declined to comment, while most are across the country player summer ball and are hard to find.

    2thdoc, that link is fine. Just no link from competiting newspapers, especially in Mississippi.

    carrwest, I’ll be surprised if Dixon goes pro. I mean, he made it known if baseball teams wanted him, they were going to have to draft him rather high.

    southaven, Larry is knee deep in college baseball at the moment, gearing for Omaha. And this announcement came rather sudden. I do think he would have conducted a national search.

    Hopefully, I’ve answered your questions.

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