June 13, 2016
Nick Mingione Named Kentucky Baseball Head Coach
Returns to UK after successful run as Mississippi State assistant
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Nick Mingione – who spent the last eight seasons as an assistant to John Cohen at Mississippi State – has been named Kentucky baseball head coach, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced on Monday.
“Nick Mingione is exactly the kind of coach we hoped to hire when we began our search,” Barnhart said. “His passion, tactical mind and tireless recruiting efforts made him an important part of Mississippi State’s staff during some great years for the program. More than that, he is a man of substance who is committed not only to developing young men as baseball players, but as students and people. We are excited to welcome Nick, his wife, Christen, and son, Reeves, to the UK Athletics family.”
Mingione takes over the Kentucky program after serving as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under Cohen at Mississippi State starting before the 2009 season. Working with the team’s outfielders, first basemen and hitters, Mingione helped lead MSU to an incredible run of success, including the program’s first Southeastern Conference regular-season championship since 1989 this season, a runner-up finish in the College World Series in 2013 and an SEC Tournament championship in 2012.
“This is an opportunity I’ve dreamed about for more than a decade,” Mingione said. “From the moment I first stepped foot on campus I knew it would be a place I could call home. What an incredible feeling to be back. Kentucky is a special place and this baseball program has had great moments over the years, including some that I have been a part of. I can’t wait to get to work on building toward an even brighter future.
“I want to thank President (Eli) Capilouto and Mitch for entrusting the program to me, John (Cohen) for the mentorship that has prepared me for this moment and the unending support of my family, especially my wife, Christen.”
Prior to his time at Mississippi State, Mingione spent two seasons at UK as an assistant under Cohen in 2006-07. UK won 33 SEC games in those two seasons, including in 2006 when UK claimed its first SEC championship. After the historic regular season, the Wildcats hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time. Mingione worked extensively at UK with the likes of Collin Cowgill and John Shelby III.
Mingione has a sterling reputation as a recruiter. Over the nine seasons at Kentucky and Mississippi State for which recruiting rankings are final, he has helped land classes with an average ranking of 14th, including top-three classes in 2013-15. He also has an unmatched track record of player development, coaching 64 players selected in the MLB Draft, as well as 36 All-Americans and five conference players of the year.
“Nick Mingione has been preparing for this opportunity for the last 13 years and I absolutely know that he will make the most of it,” Cohen said. “He is one of the nation’s elite recruiters. He is a brilliant tactician of the game. His ability to prepare kids for success in the SEC is of the highest level.
“He will make himself an irreplaceable part of the Kentucky baseball community and his wife is one of the finest people I’ve ever met. You try and surround yourself with people who make you a better coach and a better person. Nick Mingione has been that kind of person for me and like a member of my family.”
Before rejoining Cohen at MSU, Mingione spent a season at Western Carolina as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. There, Mingione helped lead the Catamounts to top-40 national ranking among in 11 different offensive categories.
Prior to his time at Kentucky, Mingione spent three years as an assistant coach at Embry-Riddle University, his alma mater. The Eagles appeared in the NAIA College World Series in each of those seasons, culminating in a runner-up finish in 2005. Mingione also coached at Florida Gulf Coast in 2002, helping lay the foundation for the program before its inaugural season in 2003. He began his coaching career in 2001 at Mariner High School, his alma mater.
Mingione – born in Tarrytown, N.Y., before growing up in Florida – graduated from Embry-Riddle in 2000 with a degree in aerospace studies, as well as a triple minor in business, psychology and humanities. He was also a four-year letterman on the school’s baseball team.
Away from coaching, Mingione travels often for both speaking engagements and mission trips. In 2013, he and six current and former members of the MSU program helped build houses and run baseball clinics for youth on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. When he returned stateside, he was inducted into the “Be The Best You Are” Baseball Clinic Speaker Hall of Fame. Other past inductees include Ted Williams (2002), Ron Polk (2003), Leo Mazzone (2006) and Cohen (2008).
Mingione is married to the former Christen Reeves. The couple has one son, Reeves.
June 13, 2016
Calipari Selected to Ad-Hoc Committee on NCAA Selection Process
UK’s head coach is slated to represent the SEC on committee that includes 13 head coaches
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Weeks after Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart was selected as a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, men’s basketball head coach John Calipari was chosen by the National Association of Basketball Coaches for an ad hoc committee on the tournament selection, seeding and bracketing.
Calipari will represent the Southeastern Conference on the committee that includes head coaches representing all levels of Division I, NCAA and NABC staff. NABC Executive Director Jim Haney and former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive are co-chairs.
“I appreciate this opportunity to be on the ad hoc committee, whose mission is to give suggestions to the selection committee,” Calipari said. “We all understand it’s an inexact science and our suggestions won’t make it perfect, we just want it to be better and more transparent for the players so that they know what they’re playing for. I look forward to working with all the other coaches and administrators.”
The ad hoc committee is slated to meet several times and resulting feedback will be presented to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee prior to its summer meeting.
This is the third ad hoc committee established by the NABC. The first worked with the NCAA and NBA to adjust rules for student-athletes declaring for the draft and lengthening the time to return to school after the NBA Combine. The second committee analyzed the time demands on men’s basketball and presented recommendations to the NCAA.
For the latest on the Kentucky men's basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com.
AD Hoc Committee Head Coaches:
John Calipari, University of Kentucky (Southeastern Conference)
Bill Coen, Northeastern University (Colonial Athletic Association)
Mark Few, Gonzaga University (West Coast Conference)
Steve Fisher, San Diego State University (Mountain West Conference)
Mark Gottfried, North Carolina State University (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Bob Huggins, West Virginia University (Big 12 Conference)
Ron Hunter, Georgia State University (Sun Belt Conference)
James Jones, Yale University (Ivy League)
Jeff Jones, Old Dominion University (Conference USA)
Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph’s University (Atlantic 10 Confernece)
John Thompson III, Georgetown University (Big East Conference)
Mark Turgeon, University of Maryland (Big Ten Conference)
Gary Waters, Cleveland State University (Horizon League)
Doug Elgin, Commissioner (Missouri Valley Conference)
Dan Guerrero, Director of Athletics-UCLA (PAC-12)
Dan Gavitt, Vice President for Men’s Basketball (NCAA)
Reggie Minton, Deputy Executive Director (NABC)
June 13, 2016
Hjelle, Lewis Named Freshman All-Americans
Wildcat Relievers Chosen by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky relief pitchers Sean Hjelle and Justin Lewis, who combined for six wins and all 12 of the team’s saves during the 2016 season, have been named Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
Hjelle (pronounced same as “jelly”), a righthander from White Bear Lake, Minn., compiled a 4-1 record, eight saves and a 3.74 earned-run average. All four of his wins came against Southeastern Conference opponents – Florida, Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina. His season was highlighted by his performance against the Gamecocks, when he threw the final four innings of UK’s 12-inning victory over the nation’s No. 2-ranked team. Four of his eight saves came vs. league opponents.
Lewis, a righthander from Suwanee, Ga., went 2-0 on the year with four saves. His final three saves came in consecutive appearances against USC Upstate, Georgia and Florida, with superb performances against the SEC foes. He tossed four shutout innings to get a save at Georgia and went the final 3.1 innings to notch a save vs. the No. 1-ranked Gators.
This marks the second time that Kentucky has had two Freshman All-Americans in the same year, as outfielder Austin Cousino and pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed were both selected in 2012.