Bianco picks up Coach of the Year honors

Bianco picks up Coach of the Year honors
Mike Bianco's Ole Miss team is ranked #11 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason Top 40 Source: Twitter/OleMissBSB

OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss Baseball head coach Mike Bianco was named the 2020 National Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball on Tuesday.

Bianco is the first Rebel head coach to be named National Coach of the Year. He joins Ole Miss legends Tom Swayze and Jake Gibbs, who combined for six Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year awards, as the only Rebel baseball coaches to earn year-end honors.

In his 20th season at the helm, Bianco led his Rebels to tie for the best record in the nation at 16-1 before the campaign was cut short due to the spread of COVID-19. Ole Miss’ lone loss came in the 2020 opener at the hands of No. 1 ranked Louisville. The Rebels fought back and won that series, and when the season concluded, they were on a 16-game winning streak—the longest in college baseball this year and just one shy of the program record.

The Rebels closed the year ranked in the top five nationally and extended their streak to 36 consecutive weeks in the top 25. Ole Miss led the nation in home runs with 37 through 17 games and finished in the top 10 nationally in slugging percentage (3rd), runs scored per game (3rd), total runs scored (5th) and walks drawn (7th).

On the mound, Ole Miss finished with a team ERA of 2.92, placing the staff among the top 50 in the country. The Rebels were also in the top 40 nationally in shutouts (12th), strikeout-to-walk ratio (20th), walks allowed per nine innings (29th), strikeouts per nine innings (32nd) and WHIP (36th).

Three Rebels—third baseman Tyler Keenan, shortstop Anthony Servideo and left-handed pitcher Doug Nikhazy—were honored as All-Americans in 2020, bringing the total to 20 in the Bianco era. Three All-Americans ties a program record set during 2014′s College World Series run.

Ole Miss added two Freshman All-Americans, catcher Hayden Dunhurst and second baseman Peyton Chatagnier, making 24 in Bianco’s 20 seasons. The Rebels have had two or more Freshman All-Americans in each of the last five seasons.

Bianco’s squad was on pace for its third straight 40-win season before the 2020 campaign was cut short. After winning 48 in 2018, 41 in 2019 and racing out to a 16-1 start in 2020, Ole Miss is tied for the fourth-most wins in the nation since 2018 at 105.

Bianco improved his record as the Rebel head coach to 767-440-1 (.635). He is Ole Miss Baseball’s all-time wins leader and is the third-winningest coach in SEC history, as well as the conference’s active wins leader.

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