By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The winningest baseball coach in Ole Miss history, Mike Bianco, will enter the 2014 season with two years remaining on his contract, just as he did this season.
Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork added one year to Bianco’s contract after the two meet in what was described as standard end of the year meeting to review the program.
Bianco has a base salary of $515,000 and makes more than $600,000 through other funding sources.
The Rebels, 38-24, began the season 21-2 but went 17-22 the rest of the way, and the season ended when Ole Miss was the second team eliminated at the Raleigh Regional last Sunday.
Bianco is 509-301-1 in 13 seasons at Ole Miss, 609-373-1 in 19 seasons overall.
Bjork said the program is on “solid ground,” but also said the last couple of years have not met expectations.
“We all know the expectations for baseball are high here and should be,” Bjork said. “The university has invested highly in baseball. Our stadium speaks to that, our resources speak to that, and our performance on the field spoke to that. That’s the level we’re aspiring to get back to.”
Ole Miss finished 15-15 in the SEC regular season, one game better than in 2012, two games better than in 2011 when it did not reach the NCAA tournament for only the second time in Bianco’s 13 seasons as coach.
In the final six SEC games the Rebels were 3-3 against Mississippi State and LSU – two RPI top 10 opponents – but lost series to Kentucky and Auburn leading into those last six games.
Bjork said he did not mandate that Bianco host a regional next season.
“I don’t believe in mandating those things, but when they are in the room making decisions on who will host, we have to be in that conversation. We were very close. I know for a fact we were in that conversation until the last couple of weeks. We talked about putting ourselves in the best possible position where there are no excuses.”
Fourteen of 16 teams participating in super regionals this weekend began the NCAA journey as regional hosts.
“Nobody’s happy when you lose your final game in a regional or super regional,” Bianco said. “I’m proud of our fans. We’ve got the greatest college baseball fans in the country and people that I think are very supportive and love Ole Miss baseball, and they want us to succeed. Nobody wants to get to Omaha more than myself, this coaching staff and this team. Nobody thinks about it more than we do.”