Moving Up

Carl Lafferty has been a part of the Ole Miss baseball program for more than a decade. Now he's moved up to a spot on the staff that he can help the program more than ever.

He was recently named to replace Rob Reinstetle as recruiting coordinator for the Rebels. As a coach, the former Rebel catcher and captain for Mike Bianco's first team in 2001 rejoined the program in the fall of 2005 after a stint in professional baseball and sales.

The Pine Bluff, Ark., native served one season as director of operations, one year as the volunteer coach, and the past two and a half years as the second assistant.

Now he steps up to direct the recruiting efforts as well as maintaining the role of coaching the pitchers and catchers.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity," Lafferty said. "The past few years I've been able to recruit alongside Rob. Getting out and evaluating talent and selling the program is something I'm very excited about. Ole Miss is a place that's very dear to me."

He's actually moved up fairly swiftly in his coaching career.

"Sometimes the clock doesn't tick as fast as you want," he said. "But in my case I was very fortunate. Assistant coaches have had a lot of success here. Dan McDonnell, Kyle Bunn, Stuart Lake. Obviously being able to recruit for Ole Miss and sell the school that I played for is a dream come true."

He credits Mike Bianco with many positives concerning Ole Miss baseball, as well as his own playing and coaching career.

"He is a guy I've learned a great deal from as a player and a coach," Lafferty said. "One thing I've learned about him is he holds the program first, and he's going to do whatever he thinks is best for the program. To know that I earned what I've received here is a great feeling."

Lafferty played for the Rebels from 1998-2001, finishing his career in the first year of the Bianco era. A four-year letterwinner, Lafferty hit .307 for his career with 104 RBI. He also notched 42 extra-base hits, including 16 home runs.

As a senior in 2001, Lafferty hit .311 with 36 RBI and three home runs. He was named to the All-SEC second team and helped lead the Rebels to a 39-23 record and the New Orleans Regional of the NCAA Tournament played at Tulane.

He was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 20th round of the 2001 First Year Player Draft. After a short stay with the Marlins, Lafferty signed a pro contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. He caught two seasons (2002-03) with the Peoria Chiefs, a single-A affiliate of the Cardinals, and also played with the high-A affiliate, the Palm Beach Cardinals.

Lafferty returned to Ole Miss in 2004 to complete his degree. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology.

Oxford is indeed home now for Lafferty and his wife Lauren, an Ole Miss alum.

"It is a comfort zone being in Oxford," he said. "I've been here all along. I never really left. I got here the fall of 1997. Ole Miss is where I met my wife and I got my degree, But I also have a job to do, and that is to bring in the best talent, high school and junior college, in the country. And that's what I'm going to do."

Lafferty said he wants to continue the success of the recruiters in the program the past several years.

"As far as the system we have in place and the way we recruit, it started years ago with Dan McDonnell," he said. "Dan had a great system in place and some terrific attributes and has had tremendous success. Then Rob came in and made some tweaks to the system that helped him succeed, and I'll do the same thing. The thing I think that makes us so successful on and off the field in anything we do is that we have a great blueprint but there is flexibility to constantly push and constantly improve."

Bianco has high praise for Lafferty.

"Carl is an excellent pitching coach and was born to be a recruiter," he said. "Carl is a great communicator and is excellent at building relationships. He's already done a terrific job and will continue to do so for this program."

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