Head Coach Mitch Thompson
Among the most highly respected instructors and recruiters in college baseball, Mitch Thompson is in his fourth season as head coach at McLennan Community College. His coaching career spans three decades and includes stints in the Big 12 and Southeastern conferences.
Thompson was named MCC head coach prior to the 2014 season and immediately began rebuilding the program to prominence. In three seasons under Thompson’s leadership, the Highlanders have amassed a 118-59 record, including a 61-35 conference mark, and three consecutive postseason appearances for the first time since the late 1990s.
The Highlanders finished 32-27 in Thompson’s initial season and earned an NJCAA Region V bid for the first time in four years. MCC finished the season with a 17-15 mark in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference.
In 2015, Thompson guided MCC to its first Region V championship and NJCAA World Series appearance in more than 20 years with a 41-20 record. The Highlanders were 19-11 in conference play. Thompson was named Region V Coach of the Year as well as Waco Tribune-Herald Sportsman of the Year.
Thompson’s 2015 squad posted a .327 team batting average and averaged more than seven runs per game. The season included a pair of six-game winning streaks and a stretch in which MCC won 24 of 31 games. At the NJCAA World Series, the Highlanders won three straight elimination games before falling to Northwest Florida State College in the national championship game. MCC was 9-3 in the postseason and won six elimination games.
The Highlanders’ success continued in 2016, going 45-12 overall and 25-7 in conference play to claim the NTJCAC title. Thompson was named NTJCAC Coach of the Year. MCC won 13 of its final 14 regular-season games, including a nine-game winning streak to enter postseason play. The Highlanders again were potent at the plate with a .342 average, clubbing 80 home runs and scoring 8.9 runs per game. Thompson’s squad was nearly unbeatable at home, going 24-3 at Bosque River Ballpark.
Through Thompson’s three seasons at MCC, 15 players have earned all-conference honors and 45 student-athletes have advance to play with four-year programs, including 37 with Division I programs and 15 with Power 5 conference schools. Six of Thompson’s players have been drafted in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, and a seventh signed as a free agent.
Thompson’s MCC squads also have excelled in the classroom as the program has posted a cumulative team GPA of at least 3.0 in seven consecutive semesters. His teams earned NJCAA All-Academic Team Honorable Mention honors in 2015 (3.13 GPA) and 2016 (3.19 GPA), and eight MCC players have earned NJCAA Academic Achievement Awards in Thompson’s three seasons.
Prior to being named MCC head coach, Thompson spent one season as the South Texas area scout supervisor in the Kansas City Royals organization. During that year, Thompson drafted the 1st, 3rd, 9th, 13th, and 20th round picks for Kansas City. The Royals spent nearly 3 million dollars signing his players.
Thompson is no stranger to baseball in Central Texas, having spent nearly two decades on staff at Baylor University (1995-2012) where he was the Bears’ hitting instructor and primary recruiter. He guided Baylor to the most prolific period of offensive production in program history as numerous program records were established during his tenure. Thompson was promoted to assistant head coach prior to the 2009 season.
In his 18 seasons at Baylor, Thompson helped the Bears to three Big 12 Conference titles, 12 NCAA Regional appearances, three Super Regional appearances and the 2005 College World Series. Those teams included four Big 12 Players of the Year, as well as 1999 consensus National Player of the Year and Golden Spikes Award winner Jason Jennings.
Thompson recruited all but one player who signed with Baylor during his tenure on the Bears’ staff, 72 of which were drafted by or signed free agent contracts with Major League organizations. This list includes several high-round draft picks, most notably first-round selections Kip Wells (Chicago White Sox, 1998), Jennings (Colorado Rockies, 1999), Chad Hawkins (Texas Rangers, 2000), David Murphy (Boston Red Sox, 2003), Mark McCormick (St. Louis Cardinals, 2005) and Aaron Miller (Los Angeles Dodgers, 2009), as well as 2001 Johnny Bench Award winner and Red Sox second-round pick Kelly Shoppach.
Nine players Thompson recruited who signed with Baylor eventually played in the Major Leagues. His recruiting classes were ranked among the nation’s 25 best six times, including a No. 1 ranking in 2005 that led to Thompson being named the 2006 Baseball America/American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) National Assistant Coach of the Year.
Thompson began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for legendary coach Ron Polk at Mississippi State for the 1989 and 1990 seasons. The 1990 Bulldogs were 50-21 and reached the College World Series after upsetting second-ranked Florida State in the NCAA South II Regional. Thompson spent the 1991 season at Radford (Va.) University before returning to Mississippi State for the 1992 and 1993 seasons as assistant coach and director of baseball operations.
In 1994, Thompson was an assistant coach at Auburn University, helping the Tigers to 44 wins and a College World Series appearance. He worked with catchers and outfielders and was the team’s defensive coordinator.
Thompson is a 1998 honors graduate of Fort Hays State in Kansas where he twice earned academic all-conference honors in baseball and served as team captain as a senior. He began his collegiate career at Cloud County Community College before spending a year at Bacone College before transferring to Fort Hays State. Thompson toured Europe in the summer of 1987 with Athletes in Action, the athletic ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. He earned a master’s degree in physical education from Mississippi State in 1991.
In 1998, Thompson produced an instructional video titled “Contact Hitting and Plate Coverage” with Championship Books and Videos. The following year, he and Championship Books and Videos co-produced a six-video series designed to help youth league baseball coaches.
Thompson and his wife, Amber, have two daughters: Mary Conley and Caroline.