Cohen Selected as USA Assistant

LEXINGTON – Kentucky head baseball coach John Cohen has been named to the USA Baseball National Team staff, it was announced Thursday by USA Baseball.

Cohen will join Dave Van Horn of Arkansas and Rob Walton of Oral Roberts as assistant coaches on the 2005 National Team that will represent the United States this summer internationally. The trio joins Steve Smith of Baylor, who was named head coach of the team in January.

"It's an honor and a privilege to coach on the national team," said Cohen. "It is a very selective group that ever gets this kind of chance and it's something I don't take lightly. I think it's a great opportunity not only for myself, but also for the University of Kentucky."

Cohen is entering his second season at the helm of the Wildcats. He is well known as one of the top hitting instructors in the nation and has proven that in every stop of his coaching career. A year ago, Kentucky's run production improved nearly two runs per game from 2003.

As the hitting coach at Florida for two seasons, Cohen's offenses led the Southeastern Conference both years and was the nation's best in 2002. He spent four years at Northwestern (La.) State prior to that, where he won two Southland Conference championships and was named the Southland Coach of the Year in those seasons.

Van Horn is entering his third season as the head coach at his alma mater. In 2004, he led the Razorbacks to the SEC Championship and a berth in the College World Series. Walton led Oral Roberts to the nation's best winning percentage and a top 20 ranking while earning Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year honors. This will be the first USA Baseball experience for all three assistant coaches.

"USA Baseball is very fortunate to have each one of these outstanding coaches dedicate their summer to our program," said Eric Campbell, USA Baseball General Manager of National Teams.

In June, USA Baseball will invite 36 of the nation's top freshman and sophomore collegiate players to the USA Baseball National Team Trials in Raleigh. After the team is selected, Smith will guide Team USA through their third summer of play at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in July following the 34th Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series in Japan, and a five-game Friendship Series vs. Chinese Taipei in Taiwan. The entire 2005 USA Baseball National Team game schedule will be announced at a later date.

USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of amateur baseball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The organization selects and trains the USA Baseball Olympic Team, the USA Baseball National Team (Collegiate), the USA Baseball Junior National Team (18-under), and the USA Baseball Youth National Team (16-under) which participate in various international competitions each year. The USA Baseball headquarters are based in Durham, North Carolina with future training facilities in Cary, North Carolina.

Before joining Team USA, Cohen will lead Kentucky through the 2005 campaign, which begins on Feb. 18 against Appalachian State at Charleston, S.C. The Wildcats are a young team with 19 newcomers. However, that group was hailed as one of the top 25 recruiting classes in the nation.

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