Here’s what I think happened and why things blew up:
- Years ago Polk retired. He’d had an associate coach on his staff who he named as head coach: Pat McMahon. Polk went to a different office on campus and became an Asst. AD
- A couple of years later Polk takes a head coaching job at the University of Georgia.
- A couple of years after that McMahon get an offer from the University of Florida and takes it. He wants to bring long time MSU assistant Tommy Raffo with him
- Raffo decides to go to Florida with McMahon.
- Larry Templeton (the AD at MSU) hires Ron Polk to come back to Starkville as the head coach of MSU.
- Ron Polk has a meeting with Tommy Raffo (who is planning to go to Florida with McMahon) and convinces him to stay in Starkville.
- [And here is where I think the turning point is] I THINK that Polk promised Raffo if he would stay at MSU, then Polk would set him up to be the head coach of the MSU Bulldogs when Polk retired. Raffo said “okay.”
- But then there’s a new AD. And then there’s a very sub par season. And then it doesn’t look like Polk is able to name his successor like he did before.
- Someone else gets hired. And that made Ron Polk become very pissed.
Now who knows if that is really how it happened. But it makes perfect sense.
The search ended a little earlier than some expected, but John Cohen is going to be the new head baseball coach at Mississippi State. He was a favorite candidate of lots of fans. But one who did not want to see him get the job was newly retired Ron Polk. He had made it clear months ago that he wanted current assistant coach Tommy Raffo to get the job. And when that didn’t happen he got pissed.
Polk threw a fit like that guy telling people to leave Britney Spears alone. Here are some of his words taken from Gregg Ellis’ blog:
Unfortunately, our new athletic director slapped me in face and punched me in the stomach. He also slapped Tommy Raffo in the face and punched him in the stomach after 15 years of loyalty to Mississippi State.
I want my name taken off the stadium and in the concourse until Greg Byrne is fired. And if they don’t do it, I will. And as soon as I get back to Starkville, I’m going to make sure the MSU Foundation is taken out of my will. And that’s a lot of money. I’m going to ask former players who give to quit.
Greg Byrne [new athletics director] doesn’t know anything. Well, he’s about to find out what my name means.
I love John, he’s a former player, but he knew how I felt. And when he walks into his new office, there will only be a desk and chair. No papers on the players or anything.
With this hire, Greg Byrne has thrown 15 years away of Tommy’s coaching life and the four years he has played here. Is he the best candidate, I don’t know. I say give him four years. If he doesn’t get the job done, then fire him.
Wow, does that not sound like someone with some major anger issues? Ron Polk has done tons for MSU Baseball and College Baseball in general. But I’m afraid of what this is going to do to his legacy.
But on the other hand, I’m excited about Cohan. Are you? Is it a good hire?