Mike Kinnison has completed 20 seasons as head coach of one of the most storied programs in collegiate baseball. In taking over the program in 1997, Kinnison was following in the shadow of Coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss and Bill Marchant. However, Kinnison has casted a mighty shadow himself.
On March 20, 2011, Coach Kinnison tied his former coach and mentor Dave “Boo” Ferriss for the school’s career wins mark at 639. In 26 seasons, Ferriss compiled a 639-387-8 record as head coach of the Statesmen. Kinnison accomplished the feat in 15 seasons as skipper.
In 2010, it was announced that Kinnison was an inductee for the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and on July 31, 2011, Kinnision joined the Hall of Fame with the class of 2011. Receiving the highest honor an athlete or coach can receive in Mississippi, Kinnison is a legend still hard at work.
Since 1997, Kinnison has accomplished an unbelievable career record of 852-275-2 (.756). He averages 43 wins per season as head coach. His all-time career record, including high school, is an astounding 1,144-358-2 (.761).
In 2004, he earned the ABCA “National Coach of the Year” award after leading the Statesmen to the program’s first-ever NCAA Division II National Championship. He has also been named the Gulf South Coach of the Year six times and appropriately named “Coach of the Decade” by the GSC in 2010.
In his 20 seasons as head coach, Kinnison has guided the Statesmen to the 2004 NCAA National title, five College World Series appearances (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 & 2012), 12 NCAA South Regional appearances (1999- 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016), 11 GSC Western Division titles (1997-2005, 2007-2008), NCAA South/South Central Regional championships and six Gulf South Conference titles.
Kinnison has also coached two American Baseball Coaches Association National Players of the Year, as Dee Haynes (2000) and Jud Thigpen (2004) earned the honor.
Before taking over the reigns 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 Coach Dave “Boo” Ferris from 1977-1978. Kinnison garnered ABCA Second Team All-American honors during the 1978 season. In that same year, he batted .343 with 25 doubles and 56 RBI’s in leading the Statesmen to a second place finish at the NCAA College World Series. Kinnison held the single season record for doubles (25-tied) before Will Robertson had 28 in 2016 and previously held the record for most games played (62) in a season.
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.
Kinnison is married to the former Cindy Colbert of Grenada. They are the proud parents of Mary Claire and Kate, both graduates of Delta State University and have two grandchildren. Mary Claire has two sons, Bowen (2), and Sam, who was born on July 29, 2016 while Kate is expecting a daughter in February.