Baseball coaches settle in after busy week

Only the administrative assistant spot remains to be filled on the Ole Miss baseball coaching staff. Dan McDonnell's Louisville program has a chance to rule the Big East.

Met Rob Reinstetle earlier today. I hope to get an interview with him soon and find out more about him and his baseball philosophies.

He was moving into Dan McDonnell's old office. Dan's stuff is still in there. Guess he hasn't gotten back from Louisville since taking that job to pack it up. Knowing Dan he's been recruiting since the press conference up there Tuesday and hasn't even thought about it.

The baseball office is obviously a busy place these days. They are housed right now in the front area of Starnes Center. They have the lobby divided into several offices. Dan had one of the old strength and conditioning offices overlooking the weight room in that building. Now it's Rob's.

But hopefully it won't be for long. Still waiting for those new offices to be built at the baseball stadium. Soon. Very soon.

With the staff now of Mike Bianco, Reinstetle, Kyle Bunn, and Carl Lafferty in place, there's only one addition left and that's administrative assistant. That‘s the job vacated by Lafferty when he moved up in the recent changes.

It will be a good thing when the baseball staff finally gets into their new digs. The current ones are amidst all the construction of the old Doc Knight Field House, which is becoming the FedEx Academic Support Center for Athletics. The place is basically being gutted, and the construction vehicles and equipment have taken up a lot of the parking lot and the entire front lawn area of Starnes/Doc Knight.

I'll have more on the development and construction of the FedEx Center in the days ahead.

Pitcher Nick Hetland was leaving the weight/training room area of Starnes as I arrived. Pitchers Justin Cryer and Michael Robbins were arriving as I was leaving.

I'll have some updates on Cryer and Hetland in the days ahead as well. I'll have to wait on a story on Robbins because of Ole Miss' interpretation of NCAA rules which say no interviews with new student-athletes until either their first practice or their first day of class.

Speaking of college baseball, that Oregon State won the whole thing brings up several points.

One, OSU was the first northern team to win the CWS since Ohio State in 1966. College baseball is a southern and western thing, but it's becoming a more national thing.

Even though that means we don't have as big a corner of the market as we once did here in the south, it might still be to our advantage, at least here in Mississippi, that more teams are moving up in baseball.

Since the "extra" scholarhips that come from lotteries in many southern states go to help instate students go to college, some of that money has gone to student-athletes. But it can only go to ones in the non-head-count sports, like baseball and soccer.

All the SEC states but Mississippi and Alabama have the systems in place to help instate students who keep a certain grade point average go to college – athletes or not. But in baseball it's a big help since teams like Georgia, which made the CWS, often have 18 or 19 scholarship equivalents but Ole Miss only 11.7 as mandated by the NCAA.

What the NCAA ought to do by using its wisdom in an area that would be beneficial would be to level that field by either not allowing the non-head-count sports to use the extra schollies or to make baseball and soccer and others like them head-count sports.

What's unfair about that? The way it is now is unfair to many.

And that's where our hope lies. Eight SEC schools are in states that have those type situations. Only the two Mississippi and two Alabama schools don't.

But since baseball has become more national, it is the hope of many that the playing field will be leveled with the help of schools in other areas who want to see more fairness in the sport.

The current Ole Miss baseball staff has never used this as an excuse, and they never will. But as good as they've been lately, can you imagine how good they'd be with five or six more scholarships to divide up or hand out?

Another aspect of the national movement in college baseball can only mean more fans and more exposure through TV. College baseball has to be the fastest growing sport nationwide. While the numbers of fans attending the postseason tournaments weren't huge (except in Oxford), I still think college baseball has a chance to become an even more recognizable and popular sport across the country in the years ahead.

McDonnell at Louisville will help that. He's at one of the southern-most Big East schools and could dominate that league given his expertise in recruiting and organizing.

Since we've talked about the Ron Fraser tree at Miami and branches like Polk and Bertman from it, Dan is the first big branch of the Bianco tree, if you will. Dan, a native New Yorker, will recruit the east and northeast and bring talent to Louisville. He already has connections into next-door Indiana with current Rebels Lance Lynn, Dan Black, and Andrew Clark.

It will be interesting to see how Dan does and how fast he wins. I'm sure lots of Ole Miss fans will keep an eye on the Cardinals each spring.

And since we haven't had a chance to say much about Stuart Lake and his family's departure on here, he'll do well wherever he lands. My guess is that will be back home in the Carolinas somewhere. As I noted in an e-mail to Stuart earlier today thanking him for his three years here and working with us, Ole Miss has never hosted a Regional or Super Regional without Stuart Lake as a coach.

Next year, however, I believe we'll be doing so without him. With the team the Rebels should field, Stuart probably believes that, too.

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