/Bulldogs come out slugging after coach’s ‘unfortunate’ departure

Bulldogs come out slugging after coach’s ‘unfortunate’ departure

Applause broke out before Henderson could start to speak. The state players were cheering for Henderson. This is not something you see every day in college baseball. You don’t often see a start to a season quite like this State player experienced in February. Henderson later said to reporters that “Tonight was huge for our team.” It was. It was what the Diamond Dogs needed in order to have something positive happen in these early seasons. Due to the reconstruction of Dudy Noble Field, State will open the season with a 10-game tour. Henderson stated that the Bulldogs were “punched in their mouth” three times by Southern Miss during the road trip. On Tuesday morning, Andy Cannizaro, the second-year coach, was forced to resign. Henderson and his players did not want to talk about Cannizaro’s resignation. Most reports have focused on Cannizaro’s infidelity, but the truth is that there are many other reasons. State’s good news is that Henderson can be turned in-house to a head coach who has had success in college baseball. Henderson was a former college pitcher and won 258 games while serving as Kentucky’s head coach. He succeeded John Cohen, Mississippi State’s athletic director. Henderson was named the SEC Coaches of the Year in 2012 when Kentucky won 45 games. Henderson is a respected pitching expert Cohen has worked with for many years. Henderson claimed that he spoke with Cohen only briefly before Henderson was appointed to replace Cannizaro. Henderson described it as a brief conversation. It was very clear what had to happen. That’s my view. Henderson met the team on Wednesday morning as head coach. After a 90-minute delay due to rain, Mississippi State became the first SEC or nationally ranked SEC team to play on the JSU campus. The Bulldogs performed well against a JSU team, which had opened its season with a victory over New Orleans at New Orleans. State was focused, upbeat and did a good job. They also fielded and hit well. Jake Mangum, the team’s centerfielder, said that Coach Henderson is a leader and that he trusts him 100 percent. “… He is a great player.” Neither Mangum nor Hunter Vansau, the other Bulldog player available for post-game interviews, wanted to dwell on Cannizaro’s departure. Mangum stated, “It’s unfortunate but we must move on.” “It’s horrible, but it’ll all be okay. We have a lot of baseball to play.” Details of all the circumstances surrounding Cannizaro’s dismissal/resignation likely will surface over the coming days and weeks, but Mangum said he and his teammates will stay focused on the task at hand. He said, “We’re about winning a lot of games.”