Humble Mingione Earns Multiple National Honors

Humble Mingione Earns Multiple National Honors

by Tim Letcher

On Wednesday, Kentucky baseball head coach Nick Mingione was named National Coach of the Year by both the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and by Perfect Game. On Friday morning, Mingione added the Dick Howser Award. For Mingione, it is the second time in his eight seasons as a head coach that he has earned that honor. The UK head man was gracious about winning the award. However, he also knows that an award like this is not won by a single person.

“The thing I’ve learned about these awards are they really are team awards, and I congratulated our staff because that is an award you legitimately could not do by yourself,” Mingione said. “All the time and effort that we’re spending preparing for our next game and our opponents and all the time and effort on the phone recruiting and evaluating and doing all these things, it really is a team award.”

Mingione appreciates this award more than the first one because of some tough times that the UK program has dealt with since 2017.

“I was naive. My first year, win SEC Coach of the Year, National Coach of the Year, I would be lying if I wasn’t, like, man, that was a little easier than I thought, and boy, was I wrong,” Mingione said. “I hope you appreciate my transparency because this game in life will humble you in a second, as you know.”

The one thing Mingione will actually take credit for is assembling a staff of talented, hard-working people who make him, and the program as a whole, better.

“Really the thing that it means to me is I have surrounded myself with amazing people. I really have,” Mingione said. “You do not win this award unless you are just covered and surrounded by amazing people. It starts with my wife and my son, and it goes all the way down to our coaches and strength coaches and athletic trainers, our student managers, our athletic director, our administration, our fans.

“You cannot do that. There is no way. There is no way that you can ever win one of those awards without having yourself being surrounded with amazing people. I’ve done a lot of things wrong as a head coach, and I make mistakes. And I’m sure I’ll make a mistake in this College World Series, but I have absolutely hit a grand slam or threw a perfect game or whatever you want to say with the people I’ve surrounded myself with.”

Kentucky has already tied a school record with 45 wins this season and will be making its College World Series debut on Saturday. Mingione is the man who lifted this program to places where it had never been and, despite his humbleness, he is absolutely deserving of his second National Coach of the Year award.

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