God Taught Nick Mingione a Lesson that Helped Cats Reach Omaha

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Vicky Graff Photo

Not long after Kentucky clinched its first trip to the College World Series with a 3-2 win over Oregon State Sunday night, coach Nick Mingione was embracing every player.

He also hugged and kissed his wife but the most emotional moment might have been when he picked up his son Reeves and the two were screaming like they were trying to be heard in heaven.

Family matters a lot to Mingione and he treats players like family. However, Mingione describing that moment with his young son was probably the highlight of the postgame press conference.

Rather than choose which quotes to share when Mingione, who had his son and wife at the podium with him, was asked about that moment, I’ve included them all to maybe do the moment justice.

NICK MINGIONE: What did you think, Reeves? Tell them how you felt.

REEVES MINGIONE: Amazed and very happy. I never felt anything like that in my life. I’ll never forget that moment.

NICK MINGIONE: This is going to be hard, but I want to get real with you guys. I cannot do this without Christen. She’s my rock. And coach’s wives do not get enough credit for what they have to go through. 2022 was a really hard time for me. It was a really difficult time. And I want to share some things of why. And maybe you’ll see a side of me that you haven’t seen.

Cole Stupp and Darren Williams both go down. I have as much respect for Cole Stupp as any pitcher that pitched for me. He loved this place. He loved it. He goes down — and so does Darren Williams. And I can tell you that one of the worst feelings as a coach is to have one of your players get injured. It crushes me personally and it crushes this woman to my left. It’s like these are her own kids. And we lost them for that year. And we really believed that we had a regional or super regional type team.

And I’m going to tell you this, we went on this great run. We were one win short (of making the NCAA Tournament). We finished fourth in the SEC Tournament for the first time ever. It was the best finish, but we were one win short.

But earlier in that year, I had dark nights. Devin, or Nolan paid me a compliment and I did the best I could holding it together. But I was really crushed as a coach. I was hurting like I’ve never hurt before. And I can be hard headed and I can be stubborn. Ask this woman. She’ll tell you. And I was beat down. I was a beat-down coach.

And God taught me a valuable lesson. I did something that I’ve only done two other times in my life and I surrendered. I just finally said, Lord, I’m done. I’m done. I cannot do this on my own anymore. I’m hurting for those two boys. I’m hurting for our team. I just felt like, man, and I was trying to do it all by myself. And the Lord put it on my heart that I was not using my spiritual gifts that he’s given me, and he basically — we have to make changes. I had to make changes.

One major change we made was we brought Nick Ammirati from coaching third base to the dugout to be with the players. And it put me at third base. I started coaching third base on May 15th of 2022. I started coaching third base and I put Ammo in there. You can’t make this up. I surrendered. I surrendered. I said, Lord, I can’t do it. And that’s what he led me to do. I want to play you a song. I want to play you a song and this song, describes perfectly how God changed my life that night.

That’s what I did. I said, Lord, I’m done this battle belongs to you. From that day, on May 15th, you can check the stats. In the regular season only, we have more wins than any team in the SEC since that day.

You can’t make this up. Only God can make this up. And people told me it would be impossible for Kentucky to make it to Omaha. I literally had people tell me that. And that day I surrendered, and this is what the Lord has done.

Reeves knows a bible verse for every letter in the alphabet. I’m a proud father of that. Reeves, what’s your J bible verse?

REEVES MINGIONE: Jesus looked at them intently and said, humanly speaking it isn’t possible. But with God anything is possible.

NICK MINGIONE:
 And God taught me a lesson: It’s not what you’re playing for; it’s who you’re playing for. And I got done chasing this dream of Omaha, and I just said I’m done. I’m not chasing that anymore, Lord. I want to play for you. It’s not what you’re playing for, it’s who you’re playing for. And that’s what God taught me.

So here we stand today. I give him all the honor and glory, to God be the glory, amazing. Amazing, and I hope you appreciate my transparency because that was real.”

4 Responses

  1. As a parent, I would love for my child to play for this man. Even if a person does not believe in God, if you are dealing with a true Christian, you know your kids will be looked after in a truly loving way.

  2. To God be the Glory!
    Great things He has done! Amazing testimony.

    “And looking upon them, Jesus said to them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

    OldFan, Larry V & Prof…
    It’s a privilege to post on this thread with you.

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