Q & A with Ole Miss’ Jordan Littlejohn
This week’s Q & A is with Ole Miss baseball manager Jordan Littlejohn, who is a graduate of Lafayette High school and Ole Miss. Here is his interview, talking CWS and the 2014 season.
John Davis: What has this experience meant to you?
Jordan Littlejohn: It’s been awesome, growing up and watching the ’05, ’06, ’07 and ’09 teams get so close to making it to Omaha. Just being part of a team that made it to Omaha, and being from Oxford, it’s really awesome. I grew up in a baseball family. Every summer we were on the baseball field at Lafayette, traveling all over the state playing baseball. Growing up you want to go to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to play in the Little League World Series. Then after about 15, you say ‘I want to go to Omaha.’ You get the Omaha bat and stuff like that. You always hear about Omaha; you just never think you’re going there. When I got here to Ole Miss and started managing, I said there was a possibility I could get to Omaha. My first four years, I hadn’t been and I hadn’t graduated yet, so I stuck around one more year. I did it. It was a great choice and I’m here in Omaha now.
Davis: So you could have been gone and missed this?
Littlejohn: I changed my major my junior year, so that extended my stay. I got lucky with that, and I got to stay here for a fifth year. It was pretty awesome.
Davis: So this is your last year and you get to go out in Omaha? Hollywood couldn’t have come up with a better ending than that.
Littlejohn: It couldn’t have been better. I graduated in May, and I get to make it Omaha in June. It couldn’t have been a better ending to a college career.
Davis: What did you get your degree in?
Littlejohn: It’s in Parks and Recreation Management.
Davis: Do you have any job prospects?
Littlejohn: Hopefully going to be selling sports equipment. I don’t know what company just yet, but selling sports equipment for somebody.
Davis: What is the thing you have like the most since you came to Ole Miss? I know the work is kind of the same, going from practice field to practice field, but but what is the one thing, or a couple of things, that you have liked the most here in Omaha?
Littlejohn: The atmosphere. You feel like you’re sitting in a summer league baseball tournament. There are a lot of players that come back and watch the games. It’s just fun. You get to watch baseball in Omaha. Yeah, you want to win the national championship, but it’s neat to be one of the eight teams that made it to Omaha.
Davis: Having grown up an Ole Miss fan and knowing how many close calls Coach Bianco has had, do you feel that’s what this is all about? The getting here part of it as opposed to anything else?
Littlejohn: Getting here is one of the obstacles to get over, but in the end, you don’t want to go 2-and-out. You want to keep on playing. Everyone has talked about Omaha and Coach Bianco’s legacy. It’s been “Until he gets to Omaha, his legacy won’t be fulfilled.”
Davis: It seems to me like he’s gone to another level now?
Littlejohn: He has. He is one of the best coaches in college baseball just because he’s been here for 14 years. He’s the all-time winningest coach in Ole Miss history, which is really cool. I just think him winning the super regional and getting to Omaha was really big for his resume as a head coach.
Davis: What do you think about the (TD Ameritrade Park) stadium and being in the dugout with the team with all those people around?
Littlejohn: It’s awesome. My brother actually texted me in the dugout and asked me how I was feeling. It’s unreal. Growing up, I watched it when it was at Rosenblatt and TD Ameritrade after 2010. Being here is just totally different. There are 24,000 screaming fans. The wave is going all the way around the stadium. Left field and right field are heckling back at each other. It’s just a really cool feeling. You have to experience it to really take in what it is.
Davis: Will you come back here, even if Ole Miss isn’t in it? I’ve seen so many people that just come and just root for any team that’s here.
Littlejohn: Gosh, yes. It’s just something to be here. The outfield is like $10 a seat. People just come out here to watch the game and they’ll go to the tents and buy a hat from each team. If one of the teams they like is playing, they’ll put on that hat and cheer for them. They’re going to root for everybody and be happy for the teams that just made it to Omaha.
Davis: It just seems like everybody is in just such a great mood and loving the actual sport. They obviously know a team is going to win or lose, but it seems like it’s more about the sport and paying homage to it.
Littlejohn: It’s really just about celebrating baseball. College baseball has really just taken off in the last 10 years. Growing up in the ’90s, you didn’t hear a lot about teams. You heard a lot about LSU and all the good teams, but you never heard about Ole Miss. You heard about Mississippi State because of Ron Polk and just because of how good he was recruiting through the nation and in Mississippi and how much he was taking his team to Omaha. But you didn’t really see games on ESPN or any other sports network. You read about it in the newspaper, who won the national championship. It’s really cool that college baseball is coming out on a national stage. It’s never going to be as big as college football or college basketball just because of the following, but it’s working it’s way up and doing good things in the last 10 years.
Davis: What has this job taught you more than anything? Knowing that it is going to come to an end in the next eight or nine days regardless, what has this job, this experience, taught you the most?
Littlejohn: Coming in five years ago, I was a really thin-skinned kid. People got to me really easily and this job has taught me toughness. It’s also taught me a good work ethic. During the season, you’re going non stop. If a coach texts you at 9 in the morning and says, “I need you up here because we’re doing early hitting,” you get up there and you work. You don’t say, “No. I can’t do it.” You say “Yes sir, I’m going to be there.” At different times of the day, they depend on the managers. It’s a thankless job. I’ve learned that. There are times when nobody says thank you or good job, but in the end, you know what? You helped the team get to Omaha. That’s really awesome and what I’m most proud about. I can say I was on a team that made it to Omaha. That’s pretty big for a guy from Lafayette County. I’m on a historic team.
Davis: And, do you get any of the gifts or have you gotten some gifts already?
Littlejohn: Oh, yes, and I’ve gotten all the Nike gear. We’ve gotten some Easton gear – it’s really nice. It’s definitely nice coming to Omaha. On top of that, you can go to TD Ameritrade and sit down and watch a game for free. It’s the best of being a fan and worker. The best of both worlds.