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Cohen updates Starkville Rotarians about MSU


Mississippi State Director of Athletics John Cohen meets members of the Starkville Rotary Club at the Starkville Country Club on Monday.

Mississippi State Director of Athletics John Cohen meets members of the Starkville Rotary Club at the Starkville Country Club on Monday. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff  Buy this photo.


Brett Hudson



STARKVILLE -- Self-deprecation wasn't in the job description for John Cohen's new role as Mississippi State director of athletics, but he mastered it anyway. 


Cohen has shown that knack in the last few weeks as he has toured the state for speaking engagements, which included a stop Monday at the Starkville Rotary Club. In between playful jabs at himself, Cohen updated the Rotary Club on developments in the athletic department. 


Cohen said MSU will interview four candidates today for the void left by Jim Ellis as the voice of MSU football and men's basketball. Cohen said he hopes to announce Ellis' successor "in the next week or so." 


MSU announced in February that Ellis would retire from calling football and men's basketball and that he would remain with baseball. 


Cohen also talked about the school's progress to find a successor for Clay Homan to lead the school's men's golf program. MSU has conducted a "national search," according to Cohen, to replace Homan since he announced his retirement following the Southeastern Conference Championships. 


"Many of the people we are considering are still coaching their teams in the NCAA national championships," Cohen told the Rotary Club. "It will be a little while before we name this person, but I can assure you it will be a really, really qualified person, a national-championship caliber coach. We have a deep appreciation for Clay Homan and everything he did for Mississippi State golf." 


Cohen also was asked for an update on the construction at Dudy Noble Field, which began with the installation the video board beyond right field. Cohen said the construction will force 2,500 season ticket holders to be displaced for one season. He said the athletic department is working to find places for those people to sit. 


Cohen said the construction project also will impact the baseball team's home schedule, as MSU will play fewer non-conference home games to give construction crews more uninterrupted work time. 


After the meeting, Cohen told The Dispatch that MSU is close to finalizing the 2019 football schedule. MSU needs one more non-conference game to complete a schedule that already includes home games against Kansas State and Abilene Christian and a game against Louisiana at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. 


The football team's 2017 schedule includes non-conference home games against Charleston Southern, BYU, and Massachusetts and a road game against Louisiana Tech. Louisiana Tech will return to Starkville in 2018, joining Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin as home non-conference opponents. A game at Kansas State will complete the 2018 non-conference schedule. 


The 2020 schedule includes a game at North Carolina State and home games against Alcorn State, Tulane, and UMass. 


Cohen's speech came a day before the MSU baseball team begins a four-game homestand. Following a game at 6:30 tonight against Troy, No. 11 MSU will play host to No. 12 LSU in a three-game weekend series that will help determine the Southeastern Conference Western Division champion. Cohen, who was MSU's baseball head coach since 2009, referred to MSU first-year head coach Andy Cannizaro as "the upgrade" and praised him for the job he has done with an injury-depleted roster. 


Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson



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