It is every college baseball coach’s dream to capture the College World Series title and hoist that National Championship trophy. Well, Chris Lemonis was fortunate to experience that in 2021, as his Mississippi State Bulldogs took home the crown to Starkville. In this episode, Mike Linch talks to Coach Lemonis about the culture of his program, how to overcome challenges when players are struggling, and how he wants to be remembered by the players he coaches.
About Chris Lemonis:
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 three seasons at MSU, Lemonis has compiled a 114-37 record (.755 winning percentage) and taken his program to every College World Series that has been played during that span. In each of his 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, doing so in his first 130 games. He is the fastest head coach in program history to reach the 100-win mark.
Owning a head coaching record of 255-128-2, Lemonis was also a part of nearly 800 wins as an assistant coach and three trips to the College World Series. During his time at Indiana, Lemonis’ teams averaged 35.3 wins per season, including a 40-win campaign during his final season in Bloomington. 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 that eight-year span and made the program’s first three trips to Omaha.
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 make the Bulldogs one of just three schools in Southern Conference history (Duke, Wake Forest) and only current member of the conference to advance to Omaha.