• 72°

Ole Miss signs Bianco to contract extension

OXFORD — 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. They 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 signed Bianco to a new four-year deal, which is the maximum allowed by the state of Mississippi.

Bianco was paid $1.2 million in 2020 — including incentives — which was among the top five highest-paid college baseball coaches in the country. Terms of the new deal were not immediately disclosed.

“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 in a statement. “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.

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 was on pace for its third straight 40-win season before the 2020 campaign was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. After winning 48 games 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.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

The Bianco era has produced 20 All-Americans — most recently the trio of 2020 honorees, Tyler Keenan, Anthony Servideo and Doug Nikhazy. Sixty-two Rebels have earned All-SEC status under Bianco.

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 Freshmen of the Year.