John Cohen: After The Press Conference

New Mississippi State head baseball coach John Cohen talks more in-depth with several reporters after Saturday's 1:00 pm press conference.

How do you describe your coaching philosophy, hitting and pitching?
"We will be very aggressive. On the mound, we will attack the strike zone. We are also going to do a great job of communicating. Offensively, we are going to have very much an attack style, kind of in-your-face baseball. That's the only way I know and it's a lot of fun to play that way."

When did this all become real to you? When did you realize you were the head coach at MSU?
"Probably this morning when I woke up in Starkville is when it became real. But I knew 20 years ago this is where I wanted to be as it was for 1,000's of other kids. I feel really fortunate that Greg Byrne and the administration has this kind of confidence in me. I'm just thrilled to death to be here."

Have you talked to the Kentucky players about taking the MSU job?
"I haven't had a chance to talk to the players because it happened so fast. My (former) assistant coach Gary Henderson, who has taken over the program, has called every player. But I am going to call everyone of them. I'll probably make 250 phone calls in the next two days. But it's important for me to do that."

Take us through the transition?
"You want it to be a smooth transition, but anytime you take over a program, you can only coach the way you know how to coach. And I only know one way. But it will be different here compared to how it was in Kentucky. I will adapt my style in some ways to this ballpark and to this group of players. But the common theme will be aggressiveness. We will be aggressive in recruiting, in our style of play. And I love the word attack. I love to attack the game and I'm very hopeful that's the kind of club we will have very soon."

Now that you here, are there any kids that you were recruiting in Kentucky that are interested in playing for you down here?
"That has been a topic of discussion ever since Coach Polk announced his retirement. But the fact is Kentucky was very pro-active in announcing Gary Henderson as their next head coach. I really think that solidified some things for them because Gary had a very strong hand in recruiting a lot of those young men.

"There are some guys that are committed but I think Gary Henderson will do a great job of hanging onto those kids. The way recruiting is done now, everything is done two years in advance. If you can't get commitments before July 1, you are going to have a tough time in November. That will be a big part of what we do here."

What does having so many people at the press conference tell you about the MSU fan support?
"I think it is overwhelming. I thought it was overwhelming when I got to the airport (Friday night) and we had a really nice group of people to welcome us. The crowd here today was just phenomenal. It speaks volumes for Mississippi State and Starkville."

Once you are settled in, what will be your first order of business?
"Recruiting and contacting our players. We need to contact our players. And we need to evaluate our players so we'll know the exact direction we need to go from a recruiting standpoint."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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