Ole Mis interim AD Keith Carter made the decision not to roll over head baseball coach Mike Bianco’s contract last week, as reported by Rival’s Chase Parham and 247’s Ben Garrett.
The decision comes after Bianco’s postseason woes continued in the 2019 season as the Rebels came just one game short of Omaha in the Fayetteville Super Regional. While Bianco has transformed Ole Mis into a perennial regular season powerhouse, it rubs some fans the wrong way to think that with all the talent he’s brought through Oxford, Ole Miss has only been to one College World Series in his near two decades at the helm.
The thought that the No. 1 ranked recruiting class from 2016 failed to reach Omaha, along with the lingering sting of the 2018 regional loss to Tennessee Tech, cast a dark shadow on a program that otherwise should be proud of it’s accomplishments.
That shadow puts the program in an unusual situation with fans feeling Ole Miss baseball has reached its ceiling under Bianco and calling for change despite consistent success.
Interims usually do not make decisions like this, especially when it involves the contract of a coach with the stature of Bianco. Carter’s call shows that not only does he have full control of the program, but also that he’s willing to do what he thinks is best for the program in the eyes of the fanbase.
“Am I interested in being the long-term, permanent A.D.? Absolutely. That’s kind of the short answer,” Carter said shortly after assuming the interim position. “But at the same time, I was raised that you go in, you do good work, you put your head down and if you have success those things will follow.”
This move is the first mark in his campaign for the permanent job, which starts now and will run until the new chancellor is named.
It’s certainly the right move if Carter wants to act as a permanent A.D. despite his interim title as it opens up the potential for change in the coming years.
If Bianco can overcome the late postseason struggles and reach Omaha in one of the final three years of his currently structured contract, it’s almost certain whoever is in control would extend that contract. If struggles continue or there’s an especially disappointing year, it’s easier to make a move away from Bianco.