STARKVILLE, Miss. - Ron Polk, legendary Mississippi State baseball coach and the winningest coach in the history of the Southeastern Conference, will return to MSU as Special Assistant to the Athletic Director, it was announced Wednesday.
“This is a great day for the Hail State Family to welcome Ron Polk back home,” Director of Athletics John Cohen said. “His experience, institutional knowledge, passion for Mississippi State and the high level of respect he holds around college athletics will be a tremendous resource to our coaches, student-athletes and entire athletics program.” “Mississippi State is a special place, and this is home for me,” Polk said. “After 54 years of coaching college baseball, including the last 12 as a volunteer assistant at UAB, this is a perfect time for me to give back to Mississippi State. I’m very appreciative to this great university and Director of Athletics John Cohen for allowing me to do this. From meeting with and being available to our coaches in different capacities, to development, alumni speaking events, serving on committees, or occasional radio and television broadcasts, I can’t wait to promote and assist in any way I can to help the Bulldogs continue to be one of the best athletic programs in the country.”
Polk spent the previous 12 seasons at UAB under head coach Brian Shoop, a former MSU assistant under Polk who announced his retirement earlier this week. Polk will continue to spend his summers coaching in the Cape Cod summer league as an assistant coach, after volunteering with MSU Athletics during the school year.
A two-time National Coach of the Year and four-time SEC Coach of the Year, Polk spent 29 seasons leading the MSU baseball program (1976-1997, 2002-2008). He currently ranks ninth all-time in NCAA Division I career head coach victories. Polk concluded his 35-year career as a head coach with a record of 1,373-700-2 (.662) and produced 35 All-Americans and more than 75 All-SEC performers.
During his career, which also included stints at Georgia Southern (1972-75) and Georgia (2000-01), Polk led his teams to a total of eight College World Series appearances, five SEC Championships and 23 Regional appearances. He is one of only three coaches in college baseball history to take three different programs to the College World Series. At MSU, Polk recruited and coached some of the game’s all-time greats including MLB standouts Jeff Brantley, Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro, Bobby Thigpen and Jonathan Papelbon.
In July 2009, Polk was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1995. In 1988, he was presented with the Lefty Gomez Award, the highest award given by the ABCA. In addition to Polk’s work in the collegiate ranks, he has completed seven tours as a member of the coaching staff for the USA National Baseball Team, twice serving as head coach. Two of the teams he coached represented the United States in the Olympics.