Mississippi State

This MSU signee was thrown a curveball with coach’s resignation. Here’s where he stands now.

Hancock baseball standout Landon Jordan signed with Mississippi State on Wednesday during a signing ceremony at HHS.
Hancock baseball standout Landon Jordan signed with Mississippi State on Wednesday during a signing ceremony at HHS. pochs@sunherald.com file

When news reached the public late Monday night that Andy Cannizaro was out as the Mississippi State baseball coach, Landon Jordan knew it was time to tune out the rest of the world.

“My first call was like at 11 last night,” the Hancock senior said Tuesday morning. “I knew after that I should put my phone on silent.”

Jordan, a sweet-swinging second baseman, committed to the Bulldogs in August of 2016, three months before Cannizaro was announced as the program’s new head coach. John Cohen, who is now the MSU athletic director, was the the Bulldogs’ coach when he first committed.

Cannizaro’s departure means that MSU will have had three permanent head coaches since Jordan first gave his commitment. Jordan made his verbal pledge official when he signed with the Bulldogs in November.

Even though Cannizaro wasn’t the first MSU coach he committed to, Jordan was excited about getting to Starkville.

“I wanted to play for him pretty bad so I’m kind of down today,” Jordan said. “We’re pretty tight. When I heard he got the job, I was excited because I knew he was a big hitting guy.”

Cannizaro, 39, was the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at LSU when Cohen tapped him as his replacement.

Jordan received an early heads up Monday that Cannizaro had possibly coached his final game before word started to get out. The news didn’t come from someone at Mississippi State, but from a family member.

“My mom told me,” Jordan said. “She heard from one of her friends. She’s big with Mississippi State and stuff.”

Cannizaro’s departure was first reported late Monday night by 247Sports.com, sending Bulldog fans into a state of shock.

MSU announced Tuesday morning that Cannizaro resigned effective immediately while acknowledging “poor decisions.” Pitching coach Gary Henderson will take over as interim head coach.

Even with the stunning news, Jordan isn’t in a state of panic about what’s taking place at MSU.

“I still feel like it’s going to be all right,” he said. “Cohen will bring in somebody that’s good.

“I’m just going to let it all play out, see who they bring in. I still plan on attending Mississippi State.”

Jordan talked with several other signees and he said, “We all feel the same way.”

Cannizaro had a good start to his time at MSU in 2017 when he led an injury-plagued squad past Southern Miss in the Hattiesburg Regional to earn a spot in the Super Regional at LSU. He led the Bulldogs to a record of 40-27.

This past weekend, USM swept the Bulldogs in a three-game series in Hattiesburg to begin the 2018 campaign. MSU (0-3) is set to play at Jackson State at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

Jordan was hampered by a hamstring injury for much of the 2017 season, playing in only 14 of 23 games. While playing through pain, he hit .394 with three homers and 10 RBIs.

As a junior, Jordan hit .486 with a homer, 17 RBIs and 22 runs scored.

Jordan is feeling healthy headed into Friday’s season opener at defending Class 5A state champion Pearl River Central.

“I had a good day Saturday (in a jamboree in Perkinston) against Long Beach,” Jordan said. “I’m just glad to play somebody else other than my own team.”

Jordan, who now checks in at 6-foot, 193 pounds, spent much of the off-season working on fine tuning his game.

“I worked on infield in the offseason because hitting is my strength,” Jordan said. “I also tried to improve my arm strength.”

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee

Related stories from Biloxi Sun Herald