Known throughout the college baseball world for his ability to turn around struggling programs, 31-year coaching veteran Gary Henderson has been named the ninth head baseball coach in University of Utah history.

Henderson, who joined the Utah staff in 2019 as associate head coach, will replace Bill Kinneberg on The Hill. Kinneberg announced his retirement last month after leading the program for 21 years.

“Coaches from prominent programs across the country were involved and spoken to,” said Utah athletic director Mark Harlan in a school news release. “However, as we all analyzed the candidates, it became clear that we had someone very special on our coaching staff. To have a coach of Gary Henderson’s caliber and experience, who also has such familiarity with the young men in our program, makes him an ideal leader for the next era of Utah baseball.”

“He has produced tremendous results both as a head coach and pitching coach with some of the premier programs in the most competitive conferences in the nation, along with recruiting and coaching many young men who have gone on to Major League careers.” — Utah AD Mark Harlan on new baseball coach Gary Henderson

The Utes went 17-33 last year, including 7-23 in the Pac-12. They were 16-33 in 2019 before getting in only 13 games last year before COVID-19 erased the remainder of the schedule.

Henderson, the 2018 National Coach of the Year as selected by the NCBWA, has coached at Florida, Oregon State, Kentucky and Mississippi State.

“The last two years have been wonderful to immerse myself into the Utah athletics family,” Henderson said in the release. “It has been a joy to develop relationships with our student-athletes and I am excited for the opportunity to continue to help them reach their academic, athletic and personal goals.”

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A native of Eugene, Oregon, Henderson pitched collegiately for Linfield College and San Diego State, compiling a 19-5 career record.

“He has produced tremendous results both as a head coach and pitching coach with some of the premier programs in the most competitive conferences in the nation, along with recruiting and coaching many young men who have gone on to Major League careers,” Harlan said. “In his two years as our associate head coach he has demonstrated all of the qualities that translate to success, and I’m thrilled that he is the new head coach for our program.”

Mississippi State’s interim baseball coach Gary Henderson, looks downfield as the team waits out a rain delay start to a game against Jackson State in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. On Wednesday, June 9, 2021, Henderson was named the new head coach of the Utah Utes baseball program. | Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press

Before joining Utah’s staff, Henderson was the pitching coach and interim head coach at MSU from 2016-18, and led the Bulldogs to the College World Series in 2018.

Mississippi State lost to eventual national champion OSU twice in the semifinals and was eliminated.

He also has experience coaching in the Pac-12, serving as OSU’s pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for five seasons.