Miss. State's Thompson named Assistant Coach of the Year

Butch Thompson speaks at the 2013 ABCA Convention in Chicago.
Butch Thompson speaks at the 2013 ABCA Convention in Chicago.

Mississippi State's Butch Thompson has been named 2014 ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year.

Thompson will be honored at the 2015 ABCA Convention, which takes place Jan. 2-5, 2015 at the World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida.

Thompson, who's served six seasons as the Bulldogs' pitching coach under head coach John Cohen, has proven his ability to develop players, while his outside-the-box approach running the staff was instrumental in the Bulldogs' reaching the 2013 College World Series finals. The Bulldogs have had 14 pitchers drafted since Thompson's arrival, including 2012 first-round pick Chris Stratton, that year's Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year. Another Thompson pupil, righthander Kendall Graveman, reached the majors this year just one season after leaving MSU.

"I think kids just really respond to him," Cohen said. "He's got one of those rare personalities where he can make a kid laugh, or he can get a kid's attention in a hurry. He can challenge a kid. Bottom line, he gets the most out of our pitching staff. He's just so valuable to what we do."

Thompson becomes the third SEC coach to win the award in the last five years, joining Derek Johnson (Vanderbilt, 2010) and Chad Holbrook (South Carolina, 2011). Other notable past winners include both head coaches from this year's CWS finals, Vanderbilt's Tim Corbin and Virginia's Brian O'Connor. Corbin won the award with Clemson in 2000 and O'Connor the next year with Notre Dame.

Corbin and O'Connor are two of the seven past winners who are active Division I head coaches.