John Cohen will be announced as Mississippi State’s new athletic director at a press conference at 1 p.m. Friday, sources with knowledge of the situation have told Mississippi Today.

Cohen, the former Bulldog baseball standout who played on a College World Series for State and years later coached State to the final series of a College World Series, will become the school’s 17th athletic director.

A university spokesman would not confirm or deny the report.

“The university will have no comment at this time,” said Sid Salter, MSU Chief Communications Officer.

Cohen, 50, replaces his good friend, Scott Stricklin, who resigned at MSU to take the same position at the University of Florida. Stricklin is known to have strongly supported Cohen for the job behind the scenes.

Last July, Cohen was given the additional title of associate athletic director and Stricklin has said he sought Cohen’s counsel on many matters outside baseball.

Cohen is not expected to continue to coach baseball, which means his first hire as athletic director will be a new baseball coach.

Rick Cleveland is Mississippi Today’s sports columnist. Read his previous columns and his Sports Daily blog. Reach Rick at

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Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 13 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.