In two seasons assistant coach John Cohen has established himself as one of the most respected assistant coaches in the Southeastern Conference. A former Mississippi State baseball standout, he joins his mentor Pat McMahon, a former Bulldog assistant coach during Cohen's four seasons in Starkville. At Florida, Cohen's coaching duties center on recruiting and hitting.
"Florida is a special place and working with the enormous talents and capabilities of Coach McMahon is a great honor and privilege," says ohen. "He is a tremendous recruiter and motivator and since I played at Mississippi State, Pat McMahon has been a role model for my coaching career. I also feel extremely fortunate to be part of the lives of the young men who represent our baseball program each year."
In his first two seasons at Florida, Cohen's offense has led the Southeastern Conference in 12 team offensive categories. Individually, Cohen has led four different players into the top five of batting average in the SEC. He also has had both clubs rank nationally in runs per game as Florida was seventh in 2003 (8.8/gm.) and second in 2002 (9.73/gm.).
In 2003 Florida batted .320 which led the SEC and ranked 30th in the nation. The Gator team also led the SEC in slugging percentage (.512) and on-base percentage (.410). The UF offense also was second in four other categories. Florida scored 10 or more runs 23 times in 2003 and 52 times the past two years under Cohen.
The explosive 2002 club led the nation in hits (825) and ranked second nationally in three other categories: batting average (.346), home runs per game (1.71 and runs per game. The Gators also set or tied a total of 41 offensive school records (20 team/21 individual) as Florida completed their most successful season since 1998 (46-19). The 2002 Gators made major offensive improvement as they shattered the school batting average record by .14 points (.346-.332) and hit 62 more homers in 2002 (111) than in 2001 (49). Consensus All-Americans Mark Kiger and Pat Osborn both batted over .400 and scored over 100 runs, while five Gator players hit 10 or more homers. Osborn also won the SEC batting title and became the fourth league batting champion that Cohen has worked with.
A two-time Southland Conference Coach of the Year, Cohen arrived at Florida after serving four successful seasons as the head coach at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. Cohen compiled a 146-84 (.635) mark at Northwestern State and directed the Demons to a pair of Southland Conference Championships in 1998 and 2001. His well-rounded clubs set 18 individual and team offensive records during his tenure, while his pitching staff set 10 school marks. The 1998 team posted the fifth best ERA in the nation (3.82) and his 1999 team carried the nations seventh best fielding percentage (.967). Under his leadership, Demon baseball averaged 18 student-athletes per semester with grade point averages of 3.0 or better. Both his 1998 and 1999 teams recorded a team GPA above 3.0.
Former Northwestern State head baseball coaches have included current Nebraska head coach Dave Van Horn and Alabama head coach Jim Wells. During Cohen's four-year guidance of the Northwestern State baseball program, more than $200,000 in contributions and fundraising activities was generated for Demon baseball. The previous single-year high was $24,000. The Demon's stadium, Brown-Stroud Field, was the main beneficiary of the funds with grandstand seating increased from 298 to 1,000. A school-record 4,214 fans watched Northwestern defeat defending national champion LSU at the facility on April 18, 2001.
"Coach Cohen has made and will continue to make a huge impact on our program," says McMahon. "He is a tireless worker and his offenses have shown to be some of the best in the nation. It is an extreme pleasure to have someone who was a head coach help guide the Gator baseball program."
Prior to his appointment at Northwestern State, Cohen served as an assistant coach at the University of Missouri for seven years from 1992-1997. He was the chief assistant coach for his final three seasons, serving as the Tigers' hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator. In 1996, Cohen's Missouri squad advanced to an NCAA Regional, finished second in the Big 12 Conference and broke nine offensive school records, part of 17 total records set by Cohen's offense.
Cohen played at Mississippi State from 1987-90 when McMahon was an assistant on the Bulldog coaching staff. Cohen's Bulldogs advanced to NCAA Regional play four times while the 1990 team advanced to the College World Series. Both the 1987 and 1989 teams captured Southeastern Conference Championships. Cohen concluded his career ranked sixth on Mississippi State's all-time batting average list and still ranks among the school's top-10 career leaders in five categories. He earned First-Team All-SEC honors as a senior outfielder and was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 22nd Round of the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft.
He spent two years in the Minnesota Twins minor league system before beginning his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Missouri in 1992.
Cohen, a 36-year old native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., resides in Gainesville and is married to the former Nelle Bashinsky, also of Tuscaloosa. The couple has been married for nine years and has two daughters - Jordan Baker (8) and Avery Lawson (5).
THE JOHN COHEN FILE
Birthdate: Sept. 21, 1966 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Education: Master's in Sports Management, Missouri, 1994; Bachelor's in English, Mississippi State, 1990; Tuscaloosa Academy, 1983-87.
Overall Head Coaching Record: 146-84 (four seasons)
Minnesota Twins minor league system, 1990-92; Mississippi State, 1987-90; Tuscaloosa Academy, 1983-87.
Assistant Coach, Missouri, 1992-1997; Head Coach, Northwestern State, 1998-2001; Assistant Coach, University of Florida, 2001-2003.
Mississippi State, 1987-90...First-Team All-SEC outfield selection as a senior...Played on four NCAA Regional teams, one CWS team (1990) and two SEC Championship squads (1987 and 1989)...1990 team was Co-Champs in rain-shortened SEC Tournament...Played during most successful four-year period (187 wins from 1987-90)...Ranks among Mississippi State all-time leaders in several categories: 71 games played in 1990 is a school record...Finished his career ranked third and currently ranks sixth on all-time at bat list (785)...285 at-bats in 1990 was second best single-season total in MSU history...Finished his career ranked seventh and currently ranks ninth in runs scored (180)...Finished his career ranked sixth in career hits and currently ranks ninth (248)...His 95 hits in 1990 was ninth best single season total in MSU history...Finished his career ranked third in career doubles and currently ranks fourth (53)...Finished his career ranked sixth in career total bases and currently ranks 10th (390)....Ranks 10th on all-time RBI list (168)...Drafted in the 22nd Round of the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft by the Minnesota Twins...Played on Minnesota Twins A Visalia team that won the Cal League title...Attended Tuscaloosa Academy High School and was a three-year starter on basketball team that won a state record 100 consecutive games.
Head Coaching Highlights
Led Northwestern State to Southland Conference Championships in 1998 and 2001; Northwestern State set 18 team offensive records, 10 pitching records and several defensive records; Raised over $200,000 in funds for the Northwestern State baseball program; Increased seating at Brown-Stroud Field from 298 to 1,000; Led 18 Northwestern State players posted at least 3.0+ GPA; 30 players from Missouri and Northwestern State have been drafted; 1996 Missouri squad advanced to NCAA Tournament and won Big Eight title for the first time in 16 years; Led Missouri offensive attack to 17 school records during his tenure; 11 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience including four as a head coach.
|COHEN'S RECORD AS A HEAD COACH|
|1998||Northwestern State||40-20||15-8 (SLC Champions)|
|2001||Northwestern State||38-17||19-8 (SLC Champions)|
|4 seasons||146-84||66-38 (.635)|
THE WORD ON JOHN COHEN
"When John took the job here, he was following in the footsteps of two top quality coaches. As he leaves, in light of the accomplishments and the impact he's had on our baseball program, he fits right in with Jim Wells and Dave Van Horn, guys who have won national coach of the year honors and taken previously struggling programs to the College World Series. The University of Florida is getting an outstanding baseball coach, one who is even better than they think, and I know they have great admiration for him. John will make a tremendous impact on that program because of the kind of coach he is and more importantly the kind of person he is. We are going to miss him."
-Greg Burke, Northwestern State athletic director in 2001
"Jim Wells brought Northwestern baseball back from the dead. Dave Van Horn picked up the reigns and advanced the program. John Cohen has been more successful against better competition than either of his predecessors- and that's two of the best coaches in America- while bringing an entirely different dimension of development to Demon baseball. Jim Wells dreamed of improving the stadium. John Cohen got it done."
-Robert Salim, president, Natchitoches Youth Baseball in 2001
"One of the biggest challenges in sports is not building a program, but maintaining and improving a successful program. Following Jim Wells and Dave Van Horn, John has improved the baseball program at Northwestern. His teams are hard-nosed, solid baseball clubs that don't back down."
-Skip Bertman, LSU athletic director and former head baseball coach in 2001
"Until you've learned at that level of Division I, it's difficult to appreciate the challenges you encounter at a place like Northwestern State. You spend so much time doing so many things other than coaching that have to be accomplished successfully in order to have a chance to win. Then you must recruit, coach and develop players and win baseball games. In many ways, coaching at that level is the toughest assignment in college baseball. Because I know John well, because I've been in his shoes, I have tremendous admiration and respect for what he's doing at Northwestern."
-Jim Wells, Alabama head baseball coach in 2001
"John is a great recruiter, a good coach and did terrific job with the offense at Missouri. He is one of the great young coaches in America. At Missouri, he developed one of the toughest offenses in the Big 12 and the nation."
-Mike Clark, Kansas State head coach in 1998
"John did a great job here and we will miss him. He was a big part of our success at Missouri. John is just so energetic and charismatic, he can relate to people really well. People just seem to like him right away. He leaves no stones unturned and makes all the phone calls. He does what he has to do to get the job done. He also does a good job evaluating talent. I've worked with John for six years and each year we have gotten better offensively."
-Tim Jameison, Missouri head coach in 1998
"John embraced the Oklahoma State offensive philosophy. He is one of the young lions, both hungry and humble. He endeared himself to me and I shared trade secrets with him that you don't normally share. Unfortunately, they beat us three-of-five in 1996 and it was kind of like watching ourselves in the mirror."
-Gary Ward, former Oklahoma State head coach in 1998
"In spite of the fact that Kansas and Missouri are our bitter rivals, I really took a liking to John and appreciated what he meant to the Missouri baseball program. I found him to be a great motivator, extremely well prepared, and a fierce competitor. Of all the young guys putting in time to make moves in this profession, he is one of the shining stars."
-Dave Bingham, ABCA Vice President and former Kansas head coach in 1998
"Much of the Missouri Tigers' rise back into the national spotlight can be credited to MU hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator John Cohen. Under the instruction of Cohen, the Missouri offensive attack has become one of the best in the nation."
-1998 Missouri baseball media guide