Thompson named National Assistant Coach of Year

Butch Thompson is the first Mississippi State assistant coach to win the Baseball America and American Baseball Coaches Association National Assistant Coach of the Year.

Mississippi State baseball associate head coach Butch Thompson has been named the 2014 Baseball America and American Baseball Coaches Association National Assistant Coach of the Year, both organizations announced Oct 15. Thompson is the first assistant coach in Mississippi State history to win the award and the first from the Southeastern Conference since 2011.

“I am honored to be recognized by Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association because of what they have meant to our game and the standard they have set for baseball,” Thompson said. “I am also humbled because the other coaches who have received this award are at the top of their field.”

Since 2012, Thompson has guided the Bulldogs to a nation-leading 201 double plays inside the toughest conference in college baseball, while ranking third in the country in total strikeouts (1,637). In the last four seasons, MSU has given up four runs or less 169 times (65 percent of total games), winning 83 percent of the time when doing so (141-28). The preaching of mental toughness has also come in handy, as MSU is 144-2 under Thompson the last four campaigns when holding a lead after eight innings.

"Butch Thompson is not only one of the most elite coaches in the country -- he is one of the best human beings I have ever known,” Mississippi State head coach John Cohen said. “His never-ending dedication to his craft, his loyalty to our program and his devotion to this university is why he is so deserving of this distinguished award.”

Since beginning his coaching career 22 seasons ago, including 13 years in the SEC, Thompson has developed 22 All-American pitchers. Thanks to those pitchers and his pitching staffs, Thompson has won nine total conference championships, coached in seven different College World Series and been part of 14 different regional tournaments, including the last four years with Mississippi State.

“I am thankful for every coach who has invested in me, every coach that has worked alongside me and every player who has worked hard and performed well to the team concept,” Thompson said.

Professionally, the Amory native has molded 23 previously undrafted pitchers into Major League Baseball draft picks. Nine of his pitchers have made it to the big leagues, including Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Kendall Graveman, who was one of three players in baseball in 2014 to make it to “The Show” after going through four different levels of the minor leagues. This past summer, Thompson had three pitchers drafted in the first 11 rounds of the MLB Draft, as well as another who signed a professional contract with the Oakland Athletics.

“College baseball can be humbling at times,” Thompson said. “This is a day where I am just truly honored by the award and thankful for everyone who has been part of this journey with me.”

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

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