WC’s Mims following heart to Ole Miss

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2002

John Morgan Mims, a Warren Central graduate, sits in the press box at Viking Field. The standout right fielder committed to play baseball at Ole Miss.The Vicksburg Post/C. Todd Sherman

[07/10/02]John Morgan Mims’ waiting game paid huge dividends on Monday night.

The standout right fielder for Warren Central the past four years held out on making a college choice until Monday night when he committed to Ole Miss in a cell phone call to coach Mike Bianco.

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The power-hitting lefty will join former teammate Brian Pettway with the Rebels and continue the family tradition at Ole Miss.

“I talked to coach Bianco a couple times and finally made my decision yesterday,” Mims said Tuesday afternoon. “It was getting kind of late and it was always on my mind. I needed to get it out of the way.”

Okaloosa-Walton Community College showed the most interest in Mims during the season, but a late coaching change at the Niceville, Fla., college made the wait even longer.

In that time, and with a strong showing at the Class 4A/5A all-star game, Mims started to garner attention from Ole Miss. One of the Rebels’ assistants was at Smith-Wills Stadium for the all-star game, and days later, Bianco started calling.

“When the big dog calls, you know they are serious,” said Randy Broome, who has coached Mims at WC since he was a freshman.

Mims called Bianco while the Ole Miss coach was on vacation in Florida. Mims said he will report in early August.

“I’m glad it’s over with,” Mims said. “Now I’m ready to get going. Everywhere I went, people kept asking me where I was going and what I was going to do. It was kind of getting old.”

Mims, who is playing on the Jackson 96ers select team this summer with several former teammates, will be reunited with Pettway, the 2002 Vicksburg Post Player of the Year.

Pettway committed in the early signing period and became eligible two weeks ago.

“I know that’s where his heart is and that’s where he’s always wanted to go,” Pettway said.

As a senior, the rifle-armed Mims hit .330 with seven homers, nine doubles and 26 RBIs. His home run and double in the all-star game, though, caught the Rebel coach’s eyes.

“I’m excited for him and I know it’s been a tough decision,” said Mims’ father, Johnny, a standout at Ole Miss, 1977-81. “As long as he’s happy, that’s what matters.”

John Morgan Mims joins a long list of family members that had standout athletic careers with the Rebels.

John Morgan’s late grandfather, Crawford, was a football all-America and his uncle, Kayo Dottley, was also a football all-America. John Morgan also has three uncles George Nasif, Bobby Bailess and Mel Richardson who were standout football players.

The ties don’t end there, though, as John Morgan’s grandmother and her two sisters were all cheerleaders at Ole Miss.

Those ties had many saying that John Morgan would go to Ole Miss by family tradition alone.

“I never thought that I had to go to Ole Miss,” John Morgan Mims said. “I grew up being an Ole Miss fan and I always wanted to play baseball there. It was a hard decision to make, but it felt like home.”

Bianco didn’t say where Mims could get an opportunity or exactly what the plan is, but Mims knows that he’ll have to work hard on the field and in the weight room to get playing time.

“I know I’ll have to get stronger and faster,” Mims said. “It will be a challenge for me to get in there and break into that lineup there.”

Broome, who has seen four other players he coached at WC sign with Division I schools, said he expects Mims to make a splash in the near future.

“He’s got all the tools the arm, bat and the speed,” Broome said. “Now, it’s just a matter of him fine tuning those tools.”