Bulldogs Name Pitching Coach

STARKVILLE, Miss. --- Mississippi State University head baseball coach John Cohen announced Wednesday the hiring of Butch Thompson as assistant baseball coach. The staff addition is pending the approval of the Board of Trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning. He will serve as the Bulldogs pitching coach.

Thompson is a native of Amory, Miss., and joins the MSU baseball coaching staff following a three-year term as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Auburn. Each of his three recruiting classes at Auburn was ranked among the nation's top 18, including a No. 5 national ranking in 2007. In seven years as a pitching coach since 2001, 20 Thompson-coached pitchers have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft, five of them in this year's June draft.

"When considering all of the factors involved in hiring our pitching coach, it quickly became obvious that Butch Thompson was our man," said Cohen. "He's a Mississippi native who has been familiar with the Bulldog baseball tradition since an early age. Throughout his coaching career at a variety of levels of collegiate baseball, the last seven in the Southeastern Conference, Butch has developed an expertise as both a skilled pitching coach both and as an effective recruiter. We are thrilled that he is joining the Mississippi State baseball family."

The 16-year coaching veteran is a graduate of Amory High School. He pitched two seasons at Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Miss., before continuing his collegiate baseball career at Birmingham-Southern College, where he played two seasons for coach Brian Shoop. He earned a bachelor's degree in history at BSC in 1992 and completed a master's degree in sports administration at UAB in 1996.

Thompson began his coaching career in 1993 as pitching coach and head assistant at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala. He returned to his alma mater as an assistant at Birmingham-Southern in 1994 and in 1997 served as head coach at Jefferson State (Ala.) Community College in Birmingham. While at JSCC Thompson was honored as the Regional Tournament Coach of the Year, the ABCA Alabama Junior College Coach of the Year and the Southeast Region Coach of the Year after guiding JSCC to a 39-21 mark, the AJCAA Region 22 State Championship and a third-place finish in the NJCAA Division II World Series.

He resumed his affiliation with Brian Shoop at Birmingham-Southern in 1998, serving for four seasons as the Panthers' pitching coach. During his seven years at Birmingham-Southern, the Panthers compiled a 331-107 record and made four appearances in the NAIA World Series (1995, 1999, 2000 and 2001), capturing the NAIA national title with a 55-11 mark.

In 2002 Thompson joined the Southeastern Conference baseball coaching family, beginning a four-year term as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Georgia under head coach David Perno. Georgia's 2003 recruiting class was ranked 10th nationally and UGA's 2004 edition captured the SEC Baseball Championship and advanced to the NCAA College World Series. He continued his SEC affiliation when he joined Tom Slater's Auburn staff following the 2005 season.

Thompson, honored as the 2006 Fellowship of Christian Athletes SEC Coach of the Year, is married to the former Robin Ashe of Birmingham, Ala., and they are the parents of three daughters --- Ann, 9, Olivia, 7, and Madelyn Gail, 2.

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