Ron Polk led the Mississippi State University baseball team for twenty-nine seasons and coached in the College World Series eight times over his thirty-five-year career. Polk was born on 12 January 1944 in Boston. He graduated from Grand Canyon University in 1965 and received a master’s degree from the University of Arizona the following year.
Polk coached at Georgia Southern from 1972 to 1975, leading the team to the College World Series in 1973. After compiling a 155–64 record there, Polk became head coach at Mississippi State University (MSU) in 1976. Prior to his 1997 retirement, Polk led the Bulldogs to the College World Series in 1979, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1997. In addition, MSU won the Southeastern Conference Tournaments in 1979, 1985, 1987, and 1990 and the conference championship in 1979, 1985, 1987, and 1989.
After two years in retirement, Polk returned to coach at the University of Georgia in 2000, and the following year his squad took the Southeastern Conference Championship and played in the College World Series. He then returned to Mississippi State, coaching there from 2002 through 2008. The Bulldogs won the conference tournament in 2005 and finished the 2007 season with a 38–22 record and a trip to the College World Series. Midway through the following season, Polk announced that he would resign at the end of the year. During his two stints at MSU, Polk posted an overall 1,139–590 record.
Polk served as head coach of the USA National Baseball Team in 1991 and 1998. He also held the post of assistant coach on the US teams that won the gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Polk has authored or coauthored two college-level coaching textbooks, The Baseball Playbook and The Baseball-Softball Playbook. Since 2009, he has served as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Polk was named National Coach of the Year in 1973 and 1985 and was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009. Polk’s overall record of 1373–702 as a college baseball head coach places him among the Top 15 all-time in wins.
- Mississippi State University Athletics website, www.hailstate.com
- NCAA Baseball Coaching Records, http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/baseball_RB/2016/coach.pdf
- Ron Polk, The Baseball Playbook (1982)
- Chris Talbott, USA Today (29 March 2008)