Chris Lemonis - Head Baseball Coach - Staff Directory - Mississippi State (2024)

  • Hometown: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • Graduate: The Citadel, 1994
    (M.A. in Sport Management)
  • Undergraduate: The Citadel, 1992
    (Bachelor of Science in Physical Education)
  • High School: Archbishop Mitty High School
  • 2019-present:
    Mississippi State, Head Coach
  • 2015-2018:
    Indiana, Head Coach
  • 2007-14:
    Louisville, Assistant Coach
  • 2003-06:
    The Citadel, Associate Head Coach
  • 1995-2002:
    The Citadel, Assistant Coach

Year

School

W-L

Pct.

2023Mississippi State27-26.509
2022Mississippi State26-30.464
2021Mississippi State50-18.735
2020Mississippi State12-4.750
2019Mississippi State52-15.776
2018Indiana40-19.678
2017Indiana34-24-2.583
2016Indiana32-24.571
2015Indiana35-24.593

School

Years

Record

Pct.

Mississippi State5167-93.642
Indiana4141-91-2.607
Total9308-184-2.626
Year SchoolW-LPct.
2023Mississippi State9-21.300
2022Mississippi State9-21.300
2021Mississippi State20-10.667
2020Mississippi State----
2019Mississippi State20-10.667
2018Indiana14-9.609
2017Indiana14-9-1.604
2016Indiana15-9.625
2015Indiana12-10.545
SchoolYears Record Pct.
Mississippi State558-62.483
Indiana455-37-1.597
Total9113-99-1.533
  • 1 NCAA National Championship
  • 17 NCAA Tournament Berths
  • 5 College World Series Appearances
  • 35 All-America Selections
  • 19 Freshman All-America Selections
  • 5 50-Win Seasons
  • 118 All-Conference Academic Selections
  • 16 ABCA All-Region Selections
  • 14 All-Conference Selections
  • 2021 NCAA National Championship
    (First in school history)
  • 2021 National Coach of the Year
  • 2 NCAA College World Series Appearances
  • 2 NCAA Super Regional Appearances
  • 2 NCAA Tournament Berths
  • 2 NCAA Super Regional Appearances
  • 1 National Player of the Year
  • 1 National Pitcher of the Year
  • 2 National Freshman of the Year
  • 1 SEC Player of the Year
  • 1 SEC Pitcher of the Year
  • 1 SEC Freshman of the Year
  • 9 All-America Honorees
  • 6 Freshman All-America Honorees
  • 7 First Team All-SEC Selections
  • 3 Second Team All-SEC Selections
  • 2 SEC All-Defensive Team Selections
  • 3 SEC All-Freshman Team Selections
  • 12 ABCA All-Region Selections
  • Three NCAA Tournament Appearances (Tied for Most by a Head Coach)
  • 1 40-win season
  • 41 Academic All-Big Ten Honorees
  • 25 All-Big Ten Selections
  • 14 Signed Professional Contracts
  • Averaged 35.3 wins per season
  • 141 wins, fifth most in program history
  • Only coach in program history to make three regionals in his first four years

2021 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

2021 BASEBALL AMERICA NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR

Since arriving in Starkville, Chris Lemonis has guided the Bulldogs to unparalleled success, including capturing Mississippi State's first national championship in 2021. He is the first Division I head coach to reach the College World Series in his first two full seasons as head coach of a program in the Super Regional era (since 1999).

In five seasons at MSU, Lemonis has compiled a 167-93 record (.642 winning percentage) and taken his program to two College World Series appearances. In his first two complete seasons at the helm of the Bulldogs, Lemonis has won 50-plus games, posting a 52-15 record in 2019 and a 50-18 mark in 2021. Lemonis notched his 100th win at MSU in his first 130 games. He is the fastest head coach in program history to reach the 100-win mark.

Lemonis led Mississippi State to its first-ever national championship in 2021 and was named the National Coach of the Year by Baseball America following a 50-18 campaign and an impressive 10-3 showing in the NCAA Tournament. He became the fourth person picked as Baseball America's National Coach of the Year as both an assistant and head coach.

The 18th head coach in the program's storied history, a journey of nearly 40 years came full circle when he was introduced on June 25, 2018, on Adkerson Plaza inside Dudy Noble Field. The son of a 1973 State graduate, Lemonis resided in Starkville as a child and now leads one of the perennial powerhouses in college baseball.

Lemonis not only understands what it takes to get to Omaha as a coach but also as a player. A 1992 graduate of The Citadel, Lemonis added a 1990 appearance in the College World Series as a student-athlete. The appearance makes the Bulldogs one of just three schools in Southern Conference history and the only current conference member to advance to Omaha.

After helping Louisville to seven postseason berths in eight years, the 2013 American Baseball Coaches Association/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year headed to Indiana for his first head coaching job with the Hoosier program in 2015.

In each of his head coaching stops, Lemonis has led his team to the NCAA postseason in his first season. He helped the Hoosiers into the NCAA Tournament field during his initial season in Bloomington before he guided Mississippi State to the College World Series in 2019 – his first season in Starkville.

One of the country's top recruiters and player development coaches, Lemonis has seen success at every coaching stop. After helping his alma mater, The Citadel, to five NCAA Regional appearances in 12 seasons as an assistant coach, Lemonis joined college teammate Dan McDonald's staff at Louisville and quickly turned the Cardinals into an Omaha contender.

Overall, Lemonis enters his 30th season as a collegiate coach in 2024, making two College World Series appearances as a head coach, taking three trips to Omaha as an assistant, earning 17 NCAA tournament berths, and aiding in five 50-win seasons. Owning a head coaching record of 308-184-2, Lemonis was also a part of nearly 800 wins as an assistant coach. He is one of three active Division I coaches to win 300 or more games at the Division I level in nine years as a head coach.

Recruiting and Development

Widely regarded as one of the elite recruiters and developers of talent in all of college baseball, a total of 100 student-athletes have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft under Lemonis' watch, with 20of those reaching the highest level of professional baseball.

His pupils have earned 35 All-America honors, 19 Freshman All-America laurels, and 98 have signed professional baseball contracts.

Since arriving at Louisville for the 2006-07 academic year, Lemonis has been a part of 14 nationally-ranked recruiting classes, including his first three classes at Mississippi State. His initial Diamond Dawgs recruiting class was tabbed as the No. 12 class nationally by Baseball America and Perfect Game, while it earned the No. 9 ranking from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. In 2019, he and his staff brought in another top-10 ranked class, finishing as high as No. 6 by Baseball America.

Over his first four seasons in Starkville, Lemonis has tutored 20 picks in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, including four first-rounders and two second-rounders. Sixteen of Lemonis' Indiana players were taken in the MLB Draft in his final four years in Bloomington, and 14 signed professional contracts. He also recruited and coached nine of the Hoosier's school-record 10 MLB Draft choices in 2019.

From 2007-14, Lemonis saw seven-straight classes ranked among the top 30 nationally, including the No. 12 national class for the 2011 recruiting cycle. In 2017, Baseball America revisited the Cardinals' 2013 class, re-ranking it No. 2 in the nation after the on-field success under Lemonis' watch. In 2018, the publication tabbed an un-ranked 2014 recruiting class, including 2015 National Freshman of the Year and 2017 Golden Spikes Award winner Brendan McKay, as the No. 1 class in the publication's re-rankings.

Lemonis mentored and or recruited 47 student-athletes that signed professional contracts after being selected in the MLB Draft during his eight years as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Louisville, including a school-record ten selections in the 2010 MLB Draft. He helped produce ten first or second-round draft choices over seven years.

To date, 15 Cardinals who were recruited by and played for Lemonis have gone on to reach the big leagues. Those players include Nick Burdi, Adam Duvall, Chris Dominguez, Cody Ege, Adam Engel, Chad Green, Dean Kiekhefer, Matt Koch, Trystan Magnuson, Justin Marks, Kyle McGrath, Brendan McKay, B.J. Rosenberg, Nick Solak, and Tony Zych. Over $28 million in signing bonuses were accrued by Lemonis' Louisville draftees.

Mississippi State

In 2023, Lemonis saw freshman outfielder Dakota Jordan earn Freshman All-American honors by Perfect Game. Awards continued to roll in as Hunter Hines and Colton Ledbetter earned ABCA All-Region honors. Hines also picked up First Team All-SEC honors, and Jordan was named to the All-SEC Freshman team. During the season, the Dawgs hit the fourth most homers in program history with 91, and freshman Ross Highfill became the first player since 2017 to hit three homers in a single game. The Dawgs saw three players drafted in the 2023 MLB Draft, with Colton Ledbetterbeing picked in the second round by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Following the 2022 season, Lemonis and the Bulldogs had six players drafted in the MLB Draft, increasing his total to 25 during his time in Starkville. He has extended his streak of having a first-round pick drafted as Landon Sims went early in the 2022 MLB Draft. Not only did the Bulldogs have success in the MLB Draft, but RJ Yeager was named Third Team All-American by the ABCA, NCBWA, and Collegiate Baseball Newspapers. Hunter Hines earned Freshman All-American honors by Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA, and D1 Baseball. The Diamond Dawgs also succeeded in the classroom during the 2022 season as 24 players earned SEC Academic Honor Roll honors, and Yeager was named Third Team CoSIDA Academic All-American.

In 2021, the Bulldogs had five players drafted from their national championship squad, while a total of 19 players have been drafted by Major League Baseball during Lemonis' time in Starkville, including at least one first-rounder in each year of his tenure. For the second straight full season, the Mississippi State baseball program saw a pair of student-athletes honored as All-Americans by the American Baseball Coaches Association in Tanner Allen and Landon Sims.

In his first season at the helm of the Diamond Dawgs, Lemonis became the winningest first-year head coach in SEC history and, in the process, led the 2019 edition to the second-most victories in program history at 52 (54; 1989). The 40 victories over MSU's first 50 games marked the third-most in the first 50 games of a season in program history and set the tone for State's second-straight trip to the College World Series.

Lemonis became one of just three SEC head coaches to advance to the College World Series in their inaugural season in the conference, joining Jake Gibbs (Ole Miss, 1972) and fellow Diamond Dawg skipper Pat McMahon (Mississippi State, 1998).

Four Diamond Dawgs earned All-American honors during Lemonis' first season, while left-handed pitcher Ethan Small was tabbed National Pitcher of the Year (College Baseball Foundation; American Baseball Coaches Association) and right-handed pitcher JT Ginn earned the National Freshman of the Year honor (Collegiate Baseball, Perfect Game). Ginn and Small each earned specialty awards from the SEC, grabbing the conference's Freshman and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.

A school-record-tying 11 Diamond Dawgs heard their names called in the 2019 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, including three taken in the first ten rounds. Small became the 15th Diamond Dawg taken in the first round of the MLB Draft, while SEC career hits leader Jake Mangum (4th; New York Mets) and Colby White (6th; Tampa Bay) each went in the first ten rounds. The 11 selections were No. 3 nationally in 2019.

Taking Over

Inheriting a team that is coming off a trip to the College World Series doesn't always translate into immediate success, but Lemonis was able to build off of that momentum as he began writing his chapter in Mississippi State history.

Along with the second-most single-season victories (52) during the 2019 season, his team also posted the second-best 20-, 30- and 40-game starts (18-2, 25-5, 32-8) in program history. He joined Pat McMahon as the only two Diamond Dawg dugout bosses to lead the program to the College World Series in their initial campaign, and his 52 wins were the most by a first-year SEC head coach in the conference's history.

State saw four student-athletes earn first-team All-SEC, tying for the fourth-most selections in a single season in program history behind the five selections in 1949, 1971, and 1977. Left-handed pitcher Ethan Small posted one of the most dominant seasons on the mound in program history, leading the nation in strikeouts and earning National and Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year honors. Right-handed pitcher JT Ginn was tabbed National Freshman of the Year and Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year.

Small, Tanner Allen, Justin Foscue, and Jake Mangum earned top honors from the SEC, and Foscue, Mangum, and Small grabbed at least one first-team All-America honor. Small became Mississippi State's seventh unanimous first-team All-American, joining Jeff Brantley (1985) and Chris Stratton (2012) as the only pitchers to accomplish the feat.

On the team side of things, State's offense led the nation in doubles to mark the first time in program history the Diamond Dawgs led the NCAA in an offensive or pitching category. The 166 doubles set a school record and ranked No. 4 all-time in SEC history.

Indiana

During his time at Indiana, Lemonis' teams averaged 35.3 wins per season, including a 40-win campaign during his final season in Bloomington.

Lemonis left a strong legacy at Indiana as he tied for the most NCAA postseason appearances by a head coach in school history and owned three of the eight all-time NCAA Tournament appearances. The Hoosiers were the only Big Ten program to appear in three NCAA Regionals during his four-year span in the conference and one of two to make back-to-back appearances from 2015-18. He became the first coach in program history to earn three NCAA regional berths in his first four years, finishing with a 141-91-2 overall record.

During his time leading the Cream and Crimson, 41 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, 25 were selected All-Big Ten, and 14 signed professional contracts. His 2018 squad advanced to the NCAA Tournament and produced a program record of 16 Academic All-Big Ten performers and three first-team All-Big Ten honorees.

The 2018 campaign saw Lemonis' squad compile a 40-19 record and earn an at-large berth as the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Austin Regional. The Hoosiers reached the regional title game after defeating Texas Southern and eliminating No. 25 Texas A&M. Indiana fell to eventual College World Series participant Texas, with a trio of Hoosiers earning all-regional honors. Eight IU student-athletes earned All-Big Ten honors – including three first-teamers – representing the program's most since 2004.

The Hoosiers were among the Big Ten leaders in several categories in 2018, ranking first in earned run average (3.09), slugging percentage (.448), home runs (68) and total bases (905), second in batting average (.284) and third in runs scored (360). That season, IU was ranked by at least one of the major publications for 15 of the 16 weeks of the regular season, including nine-straight weeks in the top 15. Four Hoosiers were selected in the MLB Draft following the eighth 40-win season in program history.

The Hoosiers produced a 34-24-2 record a season prior and earned the No. 2 seed at the 2017 NCAA Lexington Regional. With the postseason appearance, Lemonis became the first coach in program history to make two regionals in his first three seasons as IU's skipper. Indiana finished as the highest-rated RPI team in the Big Ten (34th), while seven Hoosiers garnered All-Big Ten honors.

In year two at the helm in 2016, Lemonis' club posted a 32-24 overall record and a 15-9 mark in Big Ten play. On a national level, the Hoosier pitching staff finished second in walks allowed per nine innings (2.31), fifth in WHIP (1.15) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.17), 11th in team ERA (3.09) and 25th in hits allowed per nine innings (8.02). Three IU student-athletes were tabbed All-Big Ten, including first-team selection Kyle Hart. The trio of Ryan Fineman, Luke Miller, and Scotty Bradley each brought home all-freshman honors from the conference

During Lemonis' debut season of 2015, Indiana won 12 of its last 17 games – nine coming against RPI top 50 teams – and earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Nashville Regional. Three Hoosiers earned a spot on the NCAA Regional all-tournament team, while two were tabbed All-Big Ten, and a pair was selected to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Lemonis' squad owned a 12-5 mark vs. ranked opponents in 2015, including five top-15 wins.

An advocate of playing the game the right way, Lemonis' teams hold three out of the four highest single-season fielding percentages in Indiana history, including a school-record mark of .979 in 2017.

Louisville

As an assistant coach, Lemonis' imprint in elevating the Louisville program to new heights was evident. The former Cardinals' recruiting coordinator aided Louisville to three College World Series appearances (2007, 2013, 2014) and a 359-159 (.693) record during his eight seasons there.

Louisville was college baseball's winningest program during the eight years that Lemonis was on staff, including back-to-back 50-win seasons in 2013 and 2014. Following the program's second trip to the College World Series in 2013, Lemonis was named the ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year.

He averaged 39.2 victories per year during his career in an assistant role (784 wins), bolstered by a 44.9 wins-per-season average at Louisville. The Cardinals were college baseball's winningest program during those eight years and made the program's first three trips to Omaha.

Lemonis helped the Cardinals produce 18 All-Americans, 61 all-conference selections, a trio of conference player of the year award winners, two conference newcomer of the year honorees, and the first national "of the year" award winner in the program's history. Louisville won four BIG EAST championships in the school's final five years in the conference, and he saw U of L set the school record for wins in a season three different times, including a program-best 51 victories during the 2013 season.

Louisville became a hotbed for professional talent during Lemonis' time in the Derby City, as 41 Cardinals were selected in the MLB Draft from 2007-14, and another seven inked free agent contracts with professional teams. Of those, 14 have made it to the big leagues, including three from the 2013 College World Series team.

From 2007-2014, Louisville accomplished many program firsts on its way to becoming a perennial Omaha contender. Fourteen different Cardinals produced 43 different All-America honors, including first-team All-Americans Nick Burdi (2013 & 2014), Chris Dominguez (2009), Kyle Funkhouser (2014), and Neil Holland (2010). Dominguez and Funkhouser led a crop of nine student-athlete to earn Freshman All-America accolades under Lemonis.

Dominguez claimed the 2008 (Co) and 2009 BIG EAST Player of the Year awards, marking just the second time in conference history a student-athlete won back-to-back Player of the Year awards (Steve Stanley, Notre Dame; 2001 & 2002). Burdi won the first-ever national "of the year" award when he was tabbed the nation's top closer and winner of the 2014 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year.

Along with Dominguez, Jeff Gardner claimed the 2014 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year award, while Justin Marks (2007) and Jared Ruxer (2012) each earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Year awards. Thirty-eight difference Louisville student-athletes totaled 61 all-conference honors, including a school-record ten selections to the All-BIG EAST squads in 2012 and 2013. The 2010 (BIG EAST) and 2014 (AAC) squads each totaled a then-school-standard four first-team all-conference selections.

The accolades for Lemonis' pupils weren't limited to the regular season, as 27 Cardinals earned a total of 29 NCAA All-Region honors. The quartet of Dominguez (2007), Justin Marks (2009), Coco Johnson (2013), and Cole Sturgeon (2014) all claimed NCAA Regional MVP honors, with the 2009 squad grabbing a program-best five all-regional honors. On the conference level, Louisville saw 16 total all-tournament honors earned by 13 different Cardinals.

The Citadel

Lemonis arrived at The Citadel as a student-athlete, transitioned into an assistant coaching role, and ultimately moved his way up to associate head coach before finishing his 17-year journey on the Charleston, South Carolina campus.

During his time at The Military College of South Carolina – one of the six United States senior military colleges – the Bulldogs made six of their 13 all-time appearances in the NCAA Tournament and made the program's only appearance at the College World Series. The 1990 team is one of just three Southern Conference programs (Duke, Wake Forest) and the only active member to make it to Omaha.

Lemonis' coaching tenure spanned 12 seasons (1995-2006), included seven All-Americans and two Freshman All-Americans, saw 17 student-athletes selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, and ushered in 35 offensive school records. Two of his Bulldog pupils reached the big leagues – Britt Reames and Dallas McPherson – while Philip Hartig finished his career ranked No. 7 on the NCAA's career hits chart (360; 1998-2001), with his total now No. 10 all-time in NCAA history.

He was twice tabbed All-Southern Conference as a student-athlete (1989-93) and led the team in home runs on three occasions after redshirting as a freshman and appearing in nine games his second year on campus. Following that, Lemonis started 162 games over his final three seasons and led the Bulldogs with a .367 average, 19 doubles, 52 runs, ten home runs, and 66 RBI as a senior.

A member of the 1993 All-Southern Conference Tournament team, Lemonis still ranks in the top 15 all-time at The Citadel in RBIs (152), home runs (23), and slugging percentage (.538).

Lemonis was inducted into The Citadel Hall of Fame in 2016. He was a two-time All-Southern Conference honoree and a 1990 College World Series team member. Following a successful playing career, Lemonis had a 12-year career as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs.

Personal

Lemonis and his wife, the former Jill MacEldowney, have two daughters, Marissa and Mackenzie. The Myrtle Beach, South Carolina native earned his Bachelor of Science in physical education from The Citadel in 1992 and received his Master of Arts in sport management in 1994.

He is also no stranger to Starkville, as he resided on campus as a newborn during his father's time as a student at State. His father, Thomas, was a 1973 Mississippi State graduate with a degree in electrical engineering.

Chris Lemonis - Head Baseball Coach - Staff Directory - Mississippi State (2024)
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