OMAHA (NCBWA) – After leading Mississippi State
to the College World Series, Bulldogs interim head coach
Gary Henderson has been named the National Collegiate
Baseball Writers Association National Coach of the Year.
"Coach Gary Henderson literally worked a miracle in getting Mississippi
State to Omaha this season," NCBWA executive director Bo Carter
said. "After having to play their first 11 games on the road due
to stadium construction and losing the opening SEC series to Vanderbilt,
the Bulldogs rallied behind Coach Henderson and accomplished one
of the great turnarounds in SEC history. He is a perfect choice
for 2018 NCBWA National Division I Coach of the Year."
The Bulldogs advanced to the CWS under Henderson, who was named
the interim head coach three games into the season, despite starting
the year 0-3 and SEC play 2-7. After rallying to qualify for the
NCAA Tournament, thanks in part to series sweeps of fellow CWS teams
Arkansas and Florida, MSU won five elimination games in the NCAA
postseason to advance to Omaha. Three of the Bulldogs NCAA Tournament
wins either came in walk-off fashion or in extra innings.
After compiling a 19-19 record through the first 38 games of
the season, and a 5-10 SEC record in the first half of conference
play, Henderson led a Bulldog turnaround that saw MSU finish the
regular season winning 12 of its last 17 games with a 10-5 league
record to finish 31-24 (15-15 SEC) and earn a spot in the NCAA Regionals.
Mississippi State opened the Tallahassee Regional with a 20-10
loss against Oklahoma, but rallied to win four straight games eliminating
No. 7 national seed Florida State, before beating Samford and Oklahoma
twice. Henderson and the Bulldogs advanced to face Vanderbilt, who
swept MSU in a regular-season series in Starkville, in a Super Regional.
MSU won game one of the Super Regional at Vanderbilt with a two-run
walk-off home run, before dropping game two 4-3. In the deciding
game, Henderson led the Bulldogs to a 10-6 win in 11 innings to
earn a spot in the College World Series.
Under Henderson, Jake Mangum earned first-team All-SEC honors
as well as being named to the SEC All-Defensive Team. First baseman
Tanner Allen was honored as a member of the Freshman All-SEC Team.
In addition, seven Bulldogs were selected in the MLB Draft. Pitcher
Konnor Pilkington was the third round pick of the Chicago White
Sox, while pitcher JP France was selected in the 14th round by the
Houston Astros, second baseman Hunter Stovall in the 21st round
by the Colorado Rockies and pitcher Ethan Small in the 26th round
by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Pitcher Zack Neff was selected in the
31st round by the Minnesota Twins and Mangum was picked in the 31st
round by the New York Mets.
NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists.
Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's
only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.
ALL-TIME NCBWA COACHES OF THE YEAR
Gary Henderson, Mississippi State
2017: Pat Casey, Oregon State
2016: Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina
2015: Paul Mainieri, LSU
2014: Mike Gillespie, UC Irvine
2013: Tracy Smith, Indiana
2012: Matt Senk, Stony Brook
2011: David Esquer, California
2010: Jim Schlossnagle, TCU
2009: Brian O'Connor, Virginia
2008: Mike Batesole Fresno State
NCBWA Coach of the Year