Bianco’s 2020 Rebel Squad was a Championship Contender
Ole Miss head baseball coach Mike Bianco had his Rebels playing as well as any team in the country when the 2020 season came to a premature close. Ole Miss will carry that momentum into 2021, and Bianco will do so with a new contract.
Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter announced Tuesday that the school has inked Bianco to a new four-year deal, which is the maximum allowed by the state of Mississippi.
“Mike is one of the best baseball coaches in the nation, and this contract is intended to ensure he remains a Rebel for a long time,” Carter said. “Year in and year out, Mike has established Ole Miss as one of the premier programs in college baseball, and I don’t think there is a hotter team in the country heading into next season.
“This new contract is beneficial for Ole Miss and Mike, and there were productive negotiations to reach a deal that works well for both sides. I look forward to Mike’s continued leadership in our program and to fully supporting him as we try to bring a national championship to Oxford.”
Bianco’s 20 years at the helm of Rebel Baseball makes him the longest-tenured coach in the Southeastern Conference among the sports of football, men’s basketball and baseball. Over those two decades, he has become the program’s all-time leader in wins, amassing a record of 767-440-1 (.635).
“Camie and I are very appreciative of the support from Chancellor Boyce, Keith, the IHL Board of Trustees and our Foundation Board of Directors,” Bianco said. “We’ve missed playing in front of the best fans in America, but we know the health and safety of everyone is more important than baseball. I look forward to getting back on the field with our guys at the appropriate time and building a 2021 team that will make Rebel Nation proud. Thank you for the opportunity to continue to lead Ole Miss Baseball.”
Last week, Bianco was named the 2020 National Coach of the Year. He is the winningest active baseball coach in the SEC, and in 2019, he became the third-winningest baseball coach in conference history.
In his 19 full seasons leading Ole Miss, Bianco has delivered 16 postseason appearances, including six Super Regional berths and a trip to the College World Series in 2014. The Rebels have hosted nine NCAA Regionals during his tenure.
Ole Miss has been one of the greatest attractions in college baseball under Bianco. Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field has ranked second in average attendance over each of the last four full seasons. The Rebels have ranked in the top five in average attendance for the last 12 seasons.
The Rebels were on pace for another year of outstanding draws at Swayze. The program set a new season ticket sales record for the second straight season at 7,313, eclipsing the previous record of 7,254 set in 2019. Last season’s ticket sales were monumental as well, breaking the previous mark (6,275 in 2017) by nearly 1,000 tickets.
The Rebels have reached the 30-win plateau in all of Bianco’s seasons. In total, the Rebels have won at least 30 games in each of the last 22 full seasons, the only team in the SEC to accomplish the feat. Ole Miss has won 40 or more games in eight of Bianco’s 19 full seasons.
Ole Miss was on pace for its third straight 40-win season before the 2020 campaign was cut short. After winning 48 in 2018, 41 in 2019 and racing out to a 16-1 start in 2020, the Rebels are tied for the fourth-most wins in the nation since 2018 at 105.
Ole Miss has been a consistent contender in the SEC under Bianco’s leadership. Bianco boasts a 310-259 (.545) all-time record in college baseball’s toughest conference. Under Bianco, the Rebels have brought home four Western Division crowns, as well as one outright regular-season title and two SEC Tournament titles.
Rebels have also brought home a bevy of individual honors under Bianco, including the SEC Player of the Year (Stephen Head, 2004), SEC Pitcher of the Year (Drew Pomeranz, 2010), Brooks Wallace Award (Grae Kessinger, 2019) and Buster Posey Award (Stuart Turner, 2013), as well as five C Spire Ferriss Trophy winners and three SEC Freshman of the Year honorees.
Ole Miss has developed a fruitful pipeline to professional baseball under Bianco, including 116 MLB Draft selections during his tenure. At least five Rebels have been drafted in 15 of the last 16 full drafts.
From there, 20 Rebels have made their MLB debut in the last 19 seasons, including two during the 2019 campaign. At least one Rebel has made his MLB debut in 13 of the last 14 seasons. Bianco has coached a player on three of the last four World Series Champion rosters.