'We're a baseball school'

The Rebels came home to a heroes welcome at Oxford-University Stadium/ Swayze Field late Tuesday afternoon. But it was still all about what had happened the night before.

And what is about to happen.

Ole Miss still has games to play this season, thanks to its two consecutive wins against Louisiana-Lafayette in the Super Regional.

Athletics director Ross Bjork said he knows what Ole Miss fans are interested in, and this is a reward for Rebel Nation.

"We're a baseball school," he said, having now experienced two and a half baseball seasons in Oxford. "Obviously football's big in the south, but baseball's pretty darn important. So we consider ourselves a baseball school, too. This gives us that springboard, that platform where you have this infomercial now in Omaha that we can continue."

Bjork admitted that there is always an ongoing evaluation of the program in every area, and coming into this season there was unfinished business.

"There was a lot of that," he said. "I heard from a lot of fans and supporters about how do we get over the hump? Making an NCAA Regional, that's good for some programs. But the investment that's been made in baseball, how do we get over the hump? We heard that.

"Watching him walk out of the dugout, you could see the joy and jubilation on his face."

"But my deal is Mike Bianco knows baseball. There's no one that knows our program better than Mike Bianco. He's our coach, and we've got to support him. That was our message last year. We talked about tweaking a few things, and they did it. And they performed."

Bjork said he's happy for Bianco that he's finally getting the trip to the College World Series that's been a long time coming.

"Watching him walk out of the dugout, you could see the joy and jubilation on his face," he said. "We hugged each other and I said, ‘Hey, this is all you. You're the leader of the program. It starts at the top. You know these guys and what it takes.'

"So I'm really happy for him and his family. They mean so much to the community. They've really built this program to where it is, and I'm happy he's been rewarded by getting to go to Omaha." Bjork said making it to the College World Series reinforces what he and his staff are trying to do for Ole Miss athletics.

"In some ways it validates the investment that has been made well before I got here at Ole Miss," he said. "But we're not just going to settle for top eight. We want to win it now. Let's go there and fight. We've got the arms. We can obviously hit the ball. Now we want to go win it."

Bjork said it's good to have Ole Miss on the biggest stage of a sport.

"You get to the highest level of athletics, whether that's a BCS championship game, now the college football playoff, or a Final Four. This is the pinnacle," he said. "It provides a springboard and momentum on many fronts for us."


OM Spirit Top Stories