Missouri State baseball coach Joey Hawkins gives instructions to his players before a game at Hammons Field in Springfield, Missouri.
Joey Hawkins has been named the third head baseball coach in Missouri State history. The current associate head coach played for the Bears from 2012-2015. (Photo by Missouri State Athletics)

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Missouri State has named Joey Hawkins as the school's third head baseball coach. The former MSU shortstop and current associate head coach takes over from Keith Guttin, who retired after the 2024 season following a 42-year career.

Hawkins' contract is a three-year deal through the 2027 season, with a base salary of $144,000. Additional achievement incentives for NCAA appearances, conference championships, coaching honors and other standards are also included in the agreement. His hire and contract are contingent upon the approval of the MSU Board of Governors at its next scheduled meeting.

“I couldn't be more excited to be chosen to lead the baseball program for my alma mater,” Hawkins said in a news release, adding that he was “extremely thankful” to school president Clif Smart, athletics director Kyle Smart and associate AD Casey Hunt for the opportunity.

“I look forward to adding to the legacy and tradition that Coach Rowe and Coach Guttin built,” Hawkins added. “The future is bright for Missouri State athletics and I'm looking forward to getting to work in my new position.”

He's the second former player to become head coach

Joey Hawkins. left, and head coach Keith Guttin celebrate after the Bears beat Iowa to win the 2015 NCAA Regional at Hammons Field. (Photo by Missouri State Athletics)

Guttin, who succeeded Rowe as head coach in 1983, concluded his career last month as the Bears posted a 23-34 record. He turns it over to one of his former players — just as Rowe did to him more than four decades ago.

Hawkins played shortstop for the Bears from 2012-15 and was a team captain in his final two seasons. He returned to his alma mater as hitting coach and recruiting coordinator in June 2021 and was promoted to associate head coach one year later.

In the three seasons since Hawkins took over as hitting coach, the Bears rank 13th nationally with 313 home runs, including three of the top seven single-season totals in program history and the Nos. 4 and 6 seasons in Missouri Valley Conference history. The Bears have led the Valley in home runs in all three of his seasons on staff while pacing the conference in slugging percentage twice.

“It became apparent to me over the last couple of years that Joey was the obvious choice to replace Coach Guttin,” Moats said in a news release. “His appreciation for our program's history and the amount of pride he has in being a Bear will transcend to his recruiting and ability to connect with the community.

“Joey's experience at the professional level along with his understanding of how the modern college game is being approached were also contributing factors in our decision.”

Hawkins left his mark on the school's record book

A fan favorite during his time as a Missouri State player, Hawkins was the MVC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. He owns the top two single seasons in school history for sacrifice bunts and assists, holds MSU's career sacrifice record with 62, and led the NCAA in that category during the Bears' historic 2015 season that saw the team earn the No. 8 national seed and win the Springfield Regional on the way to a school-record 49 victories. He started the final 157 games of his MSU career at shortstop.

After college, Hawkins was drafted by St. Louis in the 40th round and spent two years playing professionally, advancing to the Double-A Springfield Cardinals in 2016. He was also drafted out of high school from Whitby, Ontario, Canada.

A baseball coach smiles for a photo
Former Missouri State player Joey Hawkins returned to the school as associate head coach in 2022 and has overseen a powerful offense. (Photo: Missouri State Athletics)

Hawkins began his collegiate coaching career in 2017 as the recruiting coordinator and hitting coach at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri, and joined the Division I ranks at Saint Louis University later that year in the same capacity.

Hawkins returned to professional baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 2019, beginning as a hitting coach in the Gulf Coast League, worked as a hitting coordinator at the Cardinals' alternate site facility in 2020 with some of the organization's top prospects, and served as hitting coach for the High-A Peoria Chiefs to start the 2021 season.

Hawkins is married to former MSU softball player and three-time all-MVC selection Ashley Brentz, and the couple has two children, daughter Kinsley and son Cooper. He graduated from Missouri State with a sports management degree in December 2015.

Lyndal Scranton

Lyndal Scranton is a Springfield native who has covered sports in the Ozarks for more than 35 years, witnessing nearly every big sports moment in the region during the last 50 years. The Missouri Sports Hall of Famer, Springfield Area Sports Hall of Famer and live-fire cooking enthusiast also serves as PR Director for Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri and is co-host of the Tailgate Guys BBQ Podcast. Contact him at Lscranton755@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @LyndalScranton. More by Lyndal Scranton