STARKVILLE • The winningest coach in Southeastern Conference history is coming home.
After 12 years as a volunteer assistant baseball coach at UAB, Ron Polk is returning to Mississippi State as a special assistant to the athletic director.
Polk served two stints as the Bulldogs’ baseball coach totaling 29 years. He led eight teams to the College World Series during his coaching career including six times at MSU.
“Mississippi State is a special place, and this is home for me,” Polk said. “After 54 years of coaching college baseball, including the last 12 as a volunteer assistant at UAB, this is a perfect time for me to give back to Mississippi State. I’m very appreciative to this great university and director of athletics John Cohen for allowing me to do this.
“From meeting with and being available to our coaches in different capacities, to development, alumni speaking events, serving on committees, or occasional radio and television broadcasts, I can’t wait to promote and assist in any way I can to help the Bulldogs continue to be one of the best athletic programs in the country.”
Polk is a two-time National Coach of the Year and a four-time SEC Coach of the Year. He ranks ninth all-time in NCAA Division I victories and posted a 1,373-700-2 all-time record and was inducted in the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.
During his time with the Diamond Dogs, Polk produced several of the school’s all-time greats including Jeff Brantley, Will Clark, Eric DuBose, Paul Maholm, Mitch Moreland, Rafael Palmeiro, Jonathan Papelbon and Bobby Thigpen.
Polk even coached Cohen from 1988-90. Cohen would later succeed Polk when he retired from Mississippi State following the 2008 season.
“This is a great day for the Hail State Family to welcome Ron Polk back home,” Cohen said. “His experience, institutional knowledge, passion for Mississippi State and the high level of respect he holds around college athletics will be a tremendous resource to our coaches, student-athletes and entire athletics program.”
Mississippi State’s Dudy Noble Field at Polk-DeMent Stadium bears his name and the Ron Polk Ring of Honor in the right field concourse was established in 2019.
The 76-year old has maintained his residence in Starkville since his retirement but had volunteered at UAB under former MSU assistant coach Brian Shoop. Shoop announced his retirement on Monday.
Polk also continues to coach in the prestigious Cape Cod League during the summer.