The man who led an improbable run to Omaha and the College World Series will now have the chance to be a head coach once again.
Gary Henderson, who was most recently serving as an Associate Head Coach for the Utah baseball team, has been promoted and will now be the head coach in Salt Lake City. Henderson has been in Utah for a couple of years now, but before that, he helped MSU get out of an incredibly difficult position.
Henderson arrived in Starkville after resigning as the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats and racking up a 258-199 record. When he showed up at Mississippi State following the 2016 season, Henderson became the pitching coach for the Bulldogs.
But it wouldn’t be long before he would lead the Bulldogs as interim head coach.
Andy Cannizaro was given the head coaching responsibilities once John Cohen became MSU’s athletic director, but Cannizaro’s time in Starkville was cut short by an alleged scandal, which opened up an opportunity for Henderson early on in the 2018 season.
After Cannizaro’s departure, Mississippi State sat at 0-3 on the season after getting swept in embarrassing fashion by the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Henderson took over and, after a few bumps and bruises and frustrating losses, was able to guide MSU to success.
As March came to a close, Mississippi State was 14-15. But State turned things around in April and May, going 17-9 in the two months. And though State got eliminated quickly from the SEC Tourney, MSU ran through the Tallahassee Regional with some impressive comeback wins and then beat Vandy twice in three games in Nashville to move on to the College World Series.
Halfway through the year, Mississippi State looked like team that seemingly had no business making a run to Omaha.
But the Bulldogs got hot at the right moment with Henderson leading the way. MSU made it all the way to the CWS and won twice, beating Washington and North Carolina, before stumbling against Oregon State.
Henderson joined up with the Utes in June of 2019 and has been there since. The Utes are far from being a great program, they went 17-33 this past season, but now Henderson has a chance to get them turned around. It’ll be intriguing to see how he does.
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