Father’s Day inspiration: Kentucky baseball coach credits God for success as son looks on, recites Bible verse

Head coach Nick Mingione has guided the University of Kentucky Wildcats to the College World Series while learning an invaluable lesson:…

Head coach Nick Mingione has guided the University of Kentucky Wildcats to the College World Series while learning an invaluable lesson: surrender.

The Wildcats had never punched a ticket to the College World Series in Omaha, but a thrilling win over Oregon State solidified the team’s spot in the tournament.

The Wildcats took a 3-2 lead on an improbable play on the bases from outfielder Nolan McCarthy, who scored from second on a wild pitch that was not properly covered by the opposing team. 

The 45-14 Wildcats will have a chance become the school’s all-time winningest team as the College World Series commences. Kentucky enters as the No. 2 overall seed. 

But Head Coach Nick Mingione was unsure this day would ever come.  

In a press conference, Mingione reflected what was the lowest point in his coaching career, just two years ago. He described himself as a “beat-down coach” from trying to do everything in his own strength.  

But something changed when Mingione learned to surrender to God’s plan and realize he couldn’t do everything in his own strength. 

“This song describes perfectly how God changed my life that night,” he told the media, as he played a contemporary Christian song from his phone. “You can’t make this up. Only God can make this up. 

“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.” 

On his way to the World Series, Mingione also secured the SEC (Southeastern Conference) Coach of the Year award, but he says something else that recently happened means far more, referring to his son, Reeves, who sat beside him during the press conference. 

Mingione explained that as the team gathered to watch the NCAA Tournament selection show, “this little dude stands up and he invites the team to his baptism [the following] Thursday. So then the whole team voluntarily – they didn’t have to come; I told them two different times, ‘Guys, don’t feel like you have to come’ – they show up. 

“… I don’t know how you could have a better two weeks. As parents, for him to make the greatest decision he could ever make in his life, and then to give our fans and our players an experience they’ll never forget.” 

Mingione also told reporters that Reeves had a Bible verse memorized for every letter of the alphabet, asking him to recite his ‘J’ on the spot. 

“Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking it isn’t possible. But with God anything is possible,’” Reeves said, quoting from Matthew 19:26. 

Mingione continued by reinforcing the importance of surrender and knowing he ultimately serves God. 

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

The Wildcats’ quest for its first-ever national championship continues on Saturday in Omaha. Kentucky will face 10-seed NC State (38-21) at 1 pm CST on ESPN.