UK baseball’s Nick Mingione receives FCA Character in Coaching Award

Kentucky’s head coach presented with national honor named for coaching legend Jerry Kindall

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Kentucky baseball coach Nick Mingione has been named the FCA 2022 Jerry Kindall Character in Coaching Award recipient, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes announced Saturday.

Mingione was honored at the American Baseball Coaches Association convention in Chicago. Named after the late Jerry Kindall, former major leaguer and head coach at the University of Arizona, the award has been presented annually since 2006 by FCA to the college or high school baseball coach who best exemplifies the FCA values of integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence on and off the field baseball field.

“I am honored to receive such a meaningful award,” Mingione said. “As coaches, our mission is to develop young men off the field and prepare them for life, while also striving for success on the field. To be recognized for that is very rewarding.

“Thank you to the FCA for its vision, mission, values and impact on our program. Also, thank you to (UK FCA’s) Aaron Hogue and (former UK head coach) Keith Madison for their mentorship. Our young men are blessed to have them in our program.”

Hogue, the multi-area director at FCA, works with numerous schools in the region. He is deeply involved with UK Athletics and its programs.

“Nick is very deserving of this honor,” Hogue said. “I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact he has in the lives of the people in Kentucky’s program, the community and beyond. His commitment to excellence in all areas of life is admirable and sets an important example.”

Mingione is entering his sixth season as head coach of the Wildcats and his teams have achieved success both on and off the diamond during his tenure. He has made it a point to have his team involved in the community, part of his “Student. Person. Player.” guiding principle of the program, participating in numerous philanthropic events in Lexington while also taking time for more than 100 local speaking engagements.

In his first season at UK his ethos for the program was on full display as UK players earned SEC Pitcher of the Year, SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and SEC Community Service Team honors.

The Cats also have been dominant in the classroom, having 31 players receive SEC Academic Honor Roll and First-Year Honor Roll in 2018, eight more than any other school in the conference. Zach Logue was named the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2017, Troy Squires won the prestigious Senior CLASS Award in 2018, the first Kentucky athlete in any sport to do so, and Marshall Gei was First-Team Academic All-America in 2019. T.J. Collett then became the second Wildcat in four years to win the Senior CLASS Award when he was honored in 2021.

In five seasons, the Cats have had 159 players earn All-SEC academic honors, including a league-high 34 in 2020 and 39 in 2021. The program has earned the ABCA’s prestigious Team Academic Excellence Award, which requires a cumulative team grade point average of at least 3.00, each of the 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons, the only school in the SEC to accomplish that feat.

Kindall was well-known and respected among his peers and players. He was the first person in NCAA history to win the NCAA Division I College World Series title as both a player and head coach, winning the 1956 title as a player at Minnesota before leading Arizona to three times (1976, 1980 and 1986) over 24 seasons as coach. He was a three-time ABCA National Coach of the Year, the recipient of the ABCA’s prestigious Lefty Gomez Award in 1999 and was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS – NICK MINGIONE ERA

COMMUNITY/PERSON

  • 2 – Senior CLASS Award winners, including the first-ever for a UK student-athlete in any sport (2018, Troy Squires)
  • T.J. Collett named UK’s Baseball first SEC Brad Davis Community Service Award winner
  • 7 – Inductees into UK’s Frank G. Ham Society of Character
  • 2 – UK Athletics “Mr. Wildcat” (work on and off field)
  • Kentucky Baseball collected nearly 700 teddy bears and donated them to the Kentucky Children’s Hospital in 2021

ACADEMICS /STUDENT

  • Zach Logue named first SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year for UK Baseball (2017)
  • Marshall Gei named First-Team Academic All-American (2019)
  • T.J. Collett named Second-Team Academic All-American (2021)
  • 159 – SEC Academic Honor Roll honorees
  • Led all SEC schools in SEC Academic Honor Roll honorees in both 2020 (34) and 2021 (39)
  • Only SEC program to earn the prestigious ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award each of the past four seasons
  • Highest University of Kentucky male team GPA three straight semesters: Fall 2020, Spring 2021 and Fall 2021, including the highest team GPA of any program in Fall 2021.
  • Team GPA over 3.00 every semester (10 straight)

ON-FIELD

  • Led Kentucky to its first-ever NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2017, his first season as a head coach
  • Named the 2017 National and SEC Coach of the Year
  • Coached Kentucky’s first-ever SEC Pitcher of the Year (Sean Hjelle, 2017)
  • Kentucky has had 10 All-Americans and the National co-Freshman of the Year under Mingione
  • Kentucky has had the most SEC Player and Pitcher of the Week winners since start of 2017 season of any league program
  • Has coached 27 MLB Draft picks, including a pair of first-round picks
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