LEXINGTON – Nick Mingione – who spent the last eight seasons as an assistant to John Cohen at Mississippi State – has been named University of Kentucky baseball head coach, UK 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.
“I’ve known Nick since his first year at Kentucky in 2006,” Cowgill said. “From day one ever since he stepped on the scene, we had an incredible relationship. We have similar personalities as far as work ethic and how we care about our team and the program in general. He was always there. I would call him at 10 o’clock at night to go hit and he’d meet me at the cage. He’s just an incredible human being. He’s got an incredible work ethic. He truly cares about kids and the program.
“I think this is a great fit for Coach Mingione. He’s been a part of winning programs for a long time now. I’m pumped that he’s getting this opportunity and I think the program is going in the right direction. He’s going to do really well there because he doesn’t know how to fail.”
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