Coaching Management 23.2

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At the University of Mississippi, a new strength and conditioning program challenged players to get tougher and more competitive, and they responded with a record- breaking year. By Ben Fleming mission: accomplished offseason training Prior to 2014, the last time the Univer- sity of Mississippi baseball team made it to the College World Series was 1972. Since Head Coach Mike Bianco came on board in 2000, the squad had been close to getting back, advancing to the NCAA Divi- sion I Regionals 10 times. In 2014, the Reb- els finally got over the hump. Not only did they make it to Omaha, they advanced to the semifinals and won 48 games along the way, tying the school record. As I stood in the dugout watching the team celebrate after eliminating the Univer- sity of Louisiana-Lafayette in the Super Regional, I thought back to the beginning of our journey—the offseason work the play- ers put in during the summer and fall of 2013. With a focus on building toughness, our offseason strength and conditioning A tug-of-war competition was one of the events in the University of Mississippi's "Omaha Challenge," which capped off the Rebels' off- season training. Coaching Management PRESEASON 2015 27

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