The gain of Scott Stricklin for Florida means the loss of an athletic director for Mississippi State.
On Tuesday, the same day Florida introduced Stricklin as their new athletic director effective Nov.1, MSU announced they’re launching a nation-wide search to hire Stricklin’s replacement at the university. However, some believe the most likely candidate is already on campus.
The Clarion-Ledger‘s Michael Bonner is reporting that MSU baseball coach John Cohen is the leading internal candidate to land the position. In July, Stricklin extended Cohen’s contract through 2020 and added the title of associate athletic director. Given MSU’s propensity to hire from within (the last three athletic directors were all hired internally), Bonner’s report holds weight.
While unusual, a college coach (let alone a baseball coach) taking over as athletic director is not unprecedented. South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner was promoted to his current role in 2012 after spending 16 years as the school’s baseball coach. If Cohen is selected, he would immediately step down as baseball coach. Bonner says MSU pitching coach Gary Henderson could be the potential baseball replacement.
Besides Cohen, MSU senior associate athletic director of external affairs Scott Wetherbee is another in-house candidate. Outside of Starkville, MSU alumni and current Georgia Tech senior associate athletic director John David Wicker is another name being tossed around along with Jason Cook of Texas A&M who owns a similar title to Wicker.
The search to fill the position should not take long, Bonner said, and he thinks by Halloween someone will be at the helm.