By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Mike Bianco’s run to Omaha has continued with a run to the negotiating table.
While this week’s Independence Day holiday and vacations have people off their regular schedules, Bianco, the Ole Miss baseball coach, and athletics director Ross Bjork have met several times to discuss a raise and extension.
“We have had a chance to speak a couple of times. Now we’re just going through the process. We’re hoping to get everything finalized in the next couple of weeks. That’s our goal for a new contract,” said Bjork, adding that talks are still “fluid.”
Bianco is 557-323-1 in 14 years at Ole Miss. He’s 657-393-1 overall, a career that includes three seasons at McNeese State in Lake Charles, La., before taking the Ole Miss job for the 2001 season.
This season Bianco led the Rebels to their first College World Series appearance since 1972. Ole Miss finished 48-21 overall, 19-11 in the SEC, second in the SEC overall and first in the Western Division.
Bianco makes $515,000 annually.
He had guided Ole Miss to NCAA super regionals in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 but went into this season with only two years left on his contract. State law allows four years, but Bjork did not extend the contract to its max after the Rebels exited the Raleigh Regional in 20013 without ever facing top seed and host North Carolina State.
“We’re super excited about Mike and the job he did, ripping the seal off our program if you will, that Omaha seal,” Bianco said.
Bjork said the current talks will include an “investment across the board” meaning a larger pool of cash from which Bianco pays his assistant coaches.
There’s currently an opening on Bianco’s staff since hitting coach Cliff Godwin left last week to become head coach at his alma mater, East Carolina.
“I think Mike Bianco is a great baseball coach. Obviously he proved that once again this year with the run to Omaha, finishing third or fourth in the country depending on which poll you look at, reaching the Final Four of the (CWS),” Bjork said. “We have an exciting future with Mike at the helm. We’re excited about where the program will continue to climb with Mike as our leader.”