/While Kinnison pulls double duty, Statesmen win another title, hire a new hoops coach

While Kinnison pulls double duty, Statesmen win another title, hire a new hoops coach

Tuesday saw Kinnison’s Delta State Baseball team win two games at Oxford, Ala. to capture the 15th Gulf South Conference title. This was after Kinnison (also Delta State’s athletic director) Monday announced that Mike Nienaber, a Christian Brothers University graduate, had been hired as a men’s basketball coach at Delta State. At a Thursday morning news conference, Nienaber will officially be introduced. To win the baseball title, Delta State needed to win six games in a span of five days against tough competition. The coach was also trying to hire a basketball coach. Mike, are you tired yet? Kinnison stated Wednesday morning that it had been a hectic time but it was all good stuff. He added, “There have been many late night phone conversations, and a lot split days.” This has been true throughout the entire baseball season, according to Kinnison who was appointed as the athletic director in November. It’s not uncommon to see the Delta State athletic director pitching or mowing the field. He said, “Most mornings I have been completely committed to the athletic directors duties.” “In the afternoon, the switch is flipped and I go to baseball. “I’m fortunate to have an athletic administration team that takes care of all the details. I also have two excellent assistant coaches in baseball. This was a lot of Kinnison doing before this week. Kinnison stated, “I have been a Delta State sports fan for years. All sports.” “I attend all the games that I can. Christian Brothers is part of our conference so I have seen Mike Nienaber and his teams play. As a coach, I have always admired him. His organization and discipline have always impressed me. His teams work hard, and that’s his number one quality. Coaches are the #1 way I evaluate them. He is also a great person. “He’s just the right fit for Delta State.” The 63-year old Nienaber looks like a basketball version 64-year-old Kinnison. With 593 career wins, he is a 36-year veteran coach who was named Coach of the year in the Gulf South Conference. Nienaber’s CBU squad defeated Memphis using a Princeton-style offense in an exhibition match at Fed Ex Forum in 2014. Christian Brothers won the NCAA South Regional title in 2009 and advanced to Division II Elite Eight. He is a coach, evidently. His reputation is one of a coach who does a lot with very little. Kinnison should raise Kinnison as the athletic director. Only one of last year’s Statemen regular starters was returned to the 2019 team. They are conference champions with a record of 39-12 and just one win away from Kinnison’s 15th 40-victory season at DSU. Delta State defeated No. 6 Valdosta State won the first round of the conference tournament, but was defeated by Delta State in the second round. West Georgia lost the second round 10-3. The Statesmen had to win four consecutive games within three days and get through the losers bracket. They managed it. Kinnison stated that it was a challenge for our pitching staff. “I couldn’t be more proud of them guys.” To advance to the title game against No. 1, Delta State had to defeat Valdosta State 7-6 on Tuesday. 3 ranked West Florida Tuesday evening. Both West Florida and Delta State returned with their No. For that game, both West Florida and Delta State returned with their No. 1 pitchers. DSU sophomore Hunter Riggins won with a two-hit shutout. Riggins was the tournament MVP after he threw seven innings of shutout ball against Valdosta. The NCAA Tournament fate of Delta State will be revealed on Sunday night. After what they did at Oxford, the Statesmen could host a regional. The pairings are being awaited by the baseball coach and athletic director.