Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin posted his 1200th career victory on April 18, 2017, when his Bears scratched out a pair of eighth-inning runs to defeat the Missouri Tigers, 5-3. In the process, in this, his 35th season as the Bears’ bench boss, he became only the 25th head coach in Division I history to record 1,200 career triumphs.
Guttin began his head coaching career at Missouri State in 1983 and has built the Bears into one of the top programs in the country. His teams have won 61 percent of their games, averaged 35 victories a year, and racked up nine 40-win seasons, which include a trip to the 2003 College World Series.
Guttin, who entered the 2017 season eighth among active Division I head coaches in career victories, has been a part of the MSU baseball program as a player, assistant coach and head coach for 39 of the program’s 53 years. He took the helm of Bears baseball at the start of the 1983 season, coinciding with the move of Missouri State athletics to Division I status. He inherited the reins of the program from its only previous head baseball coach, former Missouri State Director of Athletics Bill Rowe. Guttin ultimately helped stretch MSU’s string of consecutive winning seasons to 32 in a row, easily the longest of any Missouri State athletics team. His career win total is the top mark recorded by any head coach in the 109-year history of Missouri State athletics, and the Bears have finished in the top half of the conference race in all but four of his 34 seasons.
During Guttin’s tenure, 116 Bears have signed professional contracts, including five first-round draft picks and 15 players who have advanced to the Major Leagues. Additionally, MSU has won 13 regular-season or conference tournament championships and made nine Division I NCAA Tournament appearances, including eight in the last two decades. In 2003, Guttin led the Bears to the NCAA Division I College World Series for the first time in school history, marking the only trip to Omaha by a Division I team from the state of Missouri since 1965. He has been a conference coach of the year 11 times and was selected the American Baseball Coaches Association Division I Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 1997 and again in 2003.
Guttin’s pupils have produced results off the diamond as well. Missouri State baseball players have been recognized on the Valley’s all-academic team 60 times since the inception of the honor in 1992. Additionally, seven Bears have garnered Academic All-America honors on 12 different occasions under Guttin, including three-time selection Brian Mahaffey.