STARKVILLE — Louisiana’s best baseball prospects have another connection to Mississippi State.
On Wednesday, MSU announced baseball coach Andy Cannizaro added Jake Gautreau, his former teammate at Tulane, to his staff. Gautreau takes over Will Coggin’s position as recruiting coordinator and assistant hitting coach.
“The experience he earned at his most recent position at the Boras Corporation allows him to contribute skills as an evaluator of talent and become a great influence for the present and future student-athletes at Mississippi State,” Cannizaro said in a statement released by MSU. “Having known Jake for nearly 20 years, I know he will have an immediate impact on our program, not only in recruiting, but also in helping to continue to develop the young men on our team.”
Gautreau spent the last three years working for the Boras Corporation, which is run by baseball agent Scott Boras. Gautreau coached at Tulane for five seasons after an eight-year minor-league career in the organizations of the San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians, and New York Mets.
The Padres drafted Gautreau in 2001 after he earned four All-America honors and was a two-time Conference USA Player of the Year.
Hunter Williams was one of the players Gautreau recruited to Tulane. Even though Williams, who played at West Monroe High School in Louisiana, described himself as “more of a walk-on type,” he said Gautreau didn’t treat him like that during the recruiting process.
“He sells you on every great thing he has to offer,” Williams told The Dispatch. “The best thing he does is how personable he makes the experience. He connected with me and my family, even though I wasn’t a highly touted recruit that needed the wooing like some other recruits. He went out of his way to make me feel like part of the family before I even went down there.”
Williams become more impressed with Gautreau during the 2014 season, when then-Tulane coach Rick Jones, who was in his 21st season, had to step away from the team for health reasons in late March. Gautreau was named interim head coach, a position he kept for the remainder of the season after Jones retired two months later without returning to the team. Tulane finished 23-29 and 10-18 in Conference USA, but it won three of its last four three-game series against conference foes.
“We all loved him,” Williams said. “He brought us together. We were in shambles, you could say. We were a team without a leader. We had a meeting that first day, he told us he was going to be taking over as the interim head coach and no one had any questions about it.”
Williams remembers Gautreau maintaining his commitment to working with players outside of normal practice hours after he became interim head coach. He said that role usually is delegated to assistant coaches.
At a program with MSU’s tradition, Williams believes Gautreau could be an unstoppable force.
“It’s hard to tell him no. When he’s got tools like Mississippi State does,” Williams said, “I can’t see him having any trouble recruiting anybody in the nation that he wants to come to Mississippi State.”
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson