Cohen gives athletic update at Kiwanis

MIssissippi State University Athletics Director John Cohen speaks at the meeting of the Starkville Kiwanis Club Tuesday. Cohen gave a broad update on MSU's athletic programs. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)
Staff Writer

The Starkville Kiwanis Club received a thorough update on Mississippi State University athletics Tuesday, when MSU Athletic Director John Cohen spoke at its meeting.

Cohen gave updates on many facets of the university’s athletics program including an update on the $55 million renovations to Dudy Noble Field. Cohen also discussed the success of the 26-0 women’s basketball team, new football coach Joe Moorhead and the importance of academics and service to State athletics.

Since he is the former head baseball coach of the Bulldogs, Cohen had much to say about the new stadium under construction.

“I can tell you that our final product will end up looking almost identical to that picture you’re seeing, and it’s because we were able to go out and raise $21 million,” Cohen said. “It’s because Mississippi State baseball has such a tremendous following. It’s because of the tradition of a great program.”

Cohen also discussed a feature of the design called the “Left Field Lofts,” which will hold 12 units rentable by fans for a season and stand 75 feet high. Construction will begin on the lofts in March.

“We’ll be able to get 250 to 300 people on the rooftop with a covering and a tiered structure that will be able to allow people a clear vision of the game along with the 12 units in this facility, as well," Cohen said.

Cohen also said the new facility would help with baseball recruitment.

He also commented on the success of the women’s basketball team, which stands at 26-0 this season.

“I don’t even know how to describe to someone who is not a Mississippi State person about women’s basketball, what has happened with the women’s basketball program, but suffice to say that it’s amazing,” Cohen said. “We throw around words like that way too often. Amazing. This is amazing.”

Cohen said he remembered seeing the amount of defensive drills MSU women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer put his team through not long after he arrived at MSU as head baseball coach.

“What’s amazing is watching on ESPN, that’s all they talk about, and you know, we’re one of the top offensive teams in the entire country, but the defense is the game changer for Mississippi state,” Cohen said. “Vic Schaefer has done just an incredible job.”

Cohen also dispelled any rumors of Schaefer leaving MSU soon, and said a new contract was being negotiated with him.

“It’s not because of the threat of him going somewhere else,” Cohen said. “It’s because he’s earned it.”

Cohen also said women’s basketball players Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians were both in the top 20 for the John R. Wooden Award.

He also discussed the November 2017 hire of Joe Moorhead as Mississippi State’s football coach following the departure of Dan Mullen to the University of Florida.

“When coach Mullen decided to go to Florida, we were immediately missing six personnel instantaneously off Mullen’s coaching staff,” Cohen said. “GA’s became full-time coaches, the defensive backs coach became defensive coordinator, the quarterbacks coach became the offensive coordinator.”

Cohen also spoke briefly about the 2018 MSU football recruiting class.

“When you look at the wide receiver position, the defensive back position, I think we really, really, did well in this group,” Cohen said.