Mike Bianco to remain head baseball coach at Ole Miss, contract extension announced
OXFORD — After much speculation to the contrary, Mike Bianco will remain the head coach of the Ole Miss baseball team as announced Sunday in statements from Coach Bianco and Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter.
“Ole Miss is home for me and my family, and I am committed to bringing championships to Oxford. I’m proud of what we have accomplished over the past 21 years, and I look forward to building on that foundation and achieving new levels of success. I want to thank Rebel Nation for their unmatched support, year in and year out, and how they help make Swayze Field the greatest experience in baseball.”
Coach Mike Bianco
The Rebels’ head coach took Ole Miss to an NCAA super regional this season, losing the series to Arizona in what was his seventh super since 2005. Bianco, who became the Rebels’ head coach in 2001, reached the College World Series in 2014. He was part of national championship teams at LSU in 1993, ’96 and ’97 as an assistant under head coach Skip Bertman, and he played with the Tigers as a catcher in 1988 and ’89.
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri announced his retirement on May 28 for health reasons, and Bianco’s name had been among the top of those who might replace Mainieri.
“Mike Bianco is our head coach, and with his contract extended to the maximum four years, we look forward to seeing him lead Ole Miss to new heights. We understand that the consistent success of our program will generate interest from other schools, and with any coach, there can be personal factors that come into play. Mike and I have been in constant contact and have been able to privately sort fact from fiction. Our program is poised to take the next step toward success in Omaha, and we believe Coach Bianco is the right person to guide us there.”
Keith Carter on Coach Bianco’s extension
The Bianco File
Ole Miss named Mike Bianco head coach of the Rebel baseball program on June 7, 2000. Since then, Bianco has become the winningest coach in program history and one of the top coaches in Southeastern Conference history while establishing Ole Miss as one of the premier programs in college baseball.
In 21 seasons leading the program, Bianco has delivered 17 postseason appearances, including seven Super Regional berths and a trip to the College World Series in 2014. He stands as the winningest and longest-active coach in the SEC among the sports of baseball, men’s basketball and football.
The Rebels posted three straight 40-win seasons from 2005-07 for the first time in school history and have hit the program record of 48 wins three times, most recently a 48-17 (.738) season in 2018, which came as the best win percentage by a Rebel team in the past 48 seasons.
Ole Miss was poised for another 40-win season in 2020, racing out to a 16-1 start before the campaign was cut short due to the spread of COVID-19. The Rebels ended the season on a 16-game win streak—the longest in the nation in 2020 and one short of the program record for consecutive wins. At the conclusion of the shortened season, Bianco became the first Rebel head coach to be named National Coach of the Year, earning the honor from Collegiate Baseball.
The winning tradition has led to a wealth of success in the nation’s strongest baseball conference. Under Bianco, the Rebels have won four SEC Western Division titles, two SEC Tournament titles and one SEC regular-season championship, coming in 2009. Ole Miss captured the SEC Tournament title in 2006 and again in 2018. The Rebels also won the SEC West crown in 2018, becoming just the second in program history to win both a divisional and tournament title in the same season. The Rebels have finished .500 or above in 16 of Bianco’s 20 seasons.
(Photo courtesy Ole Miss)
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.