McDonnell, Bunn to Louisville

Dan McDonnell, Ole Miss baseball assistant for six years, is supposed to be named the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals of the Big East Conference this afternoon. Another UM assistant, five-year staffer Kyle Bunn, will likely join him on the Cardinals' staff.

Dan McDonnell is set to be named the head baseball coach at Louisville this afternoon. Kyle Bunn is supposed to join him as an assistant coach on the Cardinals' staff.

These two men have been at Ole Miss six and five years respectively under head coach Mike Bianco, also here six seasons. As everybody knows by now, they have been major players in the Rebels' run to glory the past three seasons, hosting three Regionals and two Super Regionals, rolling to the SEC Tournament title this past season and winning more SEC games during the regular season the past four years than any other team in the entire league.

It's Bianco's program, but McDonnell and Bunn have been a huge part of it.

Credit Bianco for bringing them here. McDonnell was hired after Bianco brought Clint Carver with him as an assistant from McNeese State. Butch Millet was also a staffer that first season, and McDonnell came on board to be the chief recruiter. From the time Dan signed his contract with Ole Miss and they handed him a cell phone, he never turned it off. It never left his ear.

I've never been around many recruiting machines. Dan McDonnell was certainly in that small number.

Bunn coached the pitchers. He and Bianco worked closely to make the Ole Miss hurlers near the tops in the SEC each of the past five seasons. Otherwise the Rebels wouldn't have had the success they've experienced in baseball lately. "It all starts on the mound," Bianco says.

So the Rebel mentor now searches for two replacements. Likely first-year staffer, former Rebel catcher and 2001 team captain Carl Lafferty will move up to Bunn's spot, but that will obviously be one decision Bianco will have to make in the days ahead. Another will be trying to find a recruiter and not just any recruiter. To replace Dan McDonnell, the new guy will have to be one of the best in the country. Because as the chief baseball recruiter at Ole Miss for the past six years, that's clearly what he was.

There are no names surfacing yet. It's not known when they will. Bianco will likely keep that close to the vest. Names that might be tossed around will be no more than speculation, although one of them could become the man.

There were several points that were going to be obvious with the Bianco program from the start six years ago. One, the program was going to win and host Regionals and Super Regionals. Two, if Smoke Laval didn't make it at LSU, Bianco's alma mater would come calling, which happened earlier this month. Three, Dan McDonnell was going to someday become a head coach.

That day is today.

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