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DSU baseball’s Kinnison named to ABCA Hall of Fame

Courtesy of DSU Athletics
Courtesy of DSU Athletics

Delta State’s Mike Kinnison is headed to the Hall of Fame. 

After wrapping up his 23rd and final season as the head coach of the Statesmen baseball team, the DSU Athletic Director was selected as a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame’s 2020 class. 

Kinnison is joined by John Casey, Tufts University, Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt University, Wayne King, Jr., Joliet Junior College, Mike Metheny, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Dennis Rogers, Riverside City College as part of the ABCA Hall of Fame Class of 2020.

The Canton native, took over the program in 1997, following in the shadow of ABCA Hall of Fame coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss (’88) and Bill Marchant.

Kinnison, a 2010 inductee into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, compiled a career record of 981-313-2 (.757) at the helm of the Delta State program, averaging over 42 wins per season. His all-time career record, including a stellar prep head-coaching career, is 1,273-396-2 (.762).

In 15 of his 23 seasons as head coach, Kinnison guided the Statesmen to 40 or more wins. Under Kinnison, the Statesmen made six College World Series appearances (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2012 and 2017) and 16 NCAA South Regional appearances (1999-2005, 2007, 2008, 2012-2014, 2016-2019). His teams captured 11 Gulf South Conference Western Division titles (1997-2005, 2007-2008), eight Gulf South Conference titles and six NCAA Regional championships.

In 2004, he earned ABCA/Diamond National Coach of the Year honors after leading the Statesmen to the program’s first-ever NCAA Div. II national championship. He was also named the Gulf South Coach of the Year six times and named “Coach of the Decade” by the Gulf South Conference in 2010.

Kinnison has also coached three ABCA/Rawlings National Players of the Year, as Dee Haynes (2000), Jud Thigpen (2004) and two-time recipient Zack Shannon (2017, 2018) earned the honor.

Before taking over the reins as head coach, Kinnison served as an assistant coach for three seasons under Bill Marchant. Kinnison was an important component to the 1994 and 1996 teams, who accomplished trips to the Gulf South Conference Championships and the College World Series. In his three years as an assistant, the Statesmen compiled an impressive 138-36 (.793) record.

The Benton, Miss., native was a standout shortstop for the legendary Dave “Boo” Ferris from 1977-1978. Kinnison garnered ABCA/Rawlings Second Team All-America honors during the 1978 season, leading the Statesmen to a second-place finish at the NCAA College World Series.

Before returning to his alma mater, Kinnison was an accomplished high school coach in Mississippi. He coached at Lee Academy (1979-81), Jackson Prep (1982-92) and Madison Central (1993). He claimed three Mississippi Private School Association state championships at Jackson Prep in 1982, 1990 and 1991. During his prep head-coaching career, Kinnison achieved an overall record of 292-83 (.779).

Kinnison earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics education in 1977 from Delta State University. He later earned a master’s degree in mathematics education from DSU in 1978.

The 2020 ABCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held during the 76th annual ABCA Convention on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. 

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