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Mike Bianco named Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball

The Ole Miss baseball team was on a historic start to their 2020 campaign, and Mike Bianco has been acknowledged for it.

Collegiate Baseball named the Rebels’ head coach the Division I Coach of the Year on Tuesday. Bianco is the first in program history to be named National Coach of the Year. Tom Swayze and Jake Gibbs, who won a combined six Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year awards, are the only other Rebel coaches to earn year-end honors.

Bianco was in his 20th season with Ole Miss before the COVID-19 pandemic ended it 17 games in. The Rebels had the nation’s longest-active winning streak at 16, after dropping their season-opener to then-No. 1 Louisville, and were one win away from tying the program’s longest winning streak.

Picked to finish near the bottom of the SEC by almost everyone, Bianco helped guide the Rebels inside the top five before the seasoned ended in March. The Rebels also extended their streak to 36 straight weeks inside the top 25.

Offensively, the Rebels were having one of the nation’s best seasons, leading the nation with 37 home runs in 17 games and finishing in the 10 in slugging percentage at third. They finished third in the nation in runs scored per game, fifth in total runs scored and seventh in walks drawn.

On the mound, Bianco’s pitching staff finished with a team earned run average (ERA) of 2.92, putting them in the top 50 in the nation. The Rebels’ staff finished 12th in the nation in shutouts, 20th in strikeout-to-walk-out ratio, 29th in walks allowed per nine innings, 32nd in strikeouts per nine innings and 36th in walks-hits-innings-pitches (WHIP).

Bianco’s contract was not extended by Ole Miss athletics director Keith Carter at the end of a 2019 season that saw Ole Miss lose to Arkansas in the Super Regionals. The two sides have been working on a new contract extension that would roll Bianco to the maximum allowed four years by Mississippi state law, though nothing has officially been announced yet by the school.