Southern Mississippi, North Carolina, Arizona State and Virginia became the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh teams to advance to the 2009 College World Series when they won their Super Regionals Sunday. Here are a few tid-bits about those schools and their head coaches:
- The Cavaliers are in the College World Series for the first time in program history.
- This season also marked the first Super Regional appearance for Virginia, as well as its first ACC Tournament title since 1996.
- Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor is a native of Council Bluffs, IA, which sits just to the east of the Missouri river from Omaha, NE.
- While Virginia is in the CWS for the first time, this is O’Connor’s third Omaha experience.
- O’Connor was a pitcher on Creighton’s 1991 CWS team, and he was the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for Notre Dame’s 2002 CWS squad.
- Current Chicago Cubs GM, Jim Hendry, was the Creighton head coach in 1991.
- Current LSU head coach, Paul Mainieri, was Notre Dame’s head coach in 2002.
- Virginia is 9-1 during the 2009 postseason (including ACC Tournament).
- A friend of O’Connor’s father crafted the famed “Road To Omaha” statue that sits outside Rosenblatt Stadium. O’Connor is the face of the player on the right.
- The Tar Heels are in the College World Series for a program record fourth straight year.
- 2009 also marks the 8th overall CWS appearance for UNC, with at least one trip to Omaha in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and now the 21st century.
- UNC head coach, Mike Fox, is one of just six men to play in and then coach his alma mater to the College World Series.
- North Carolina has 13 all-time wins at the CWS, and Fox has played in (2) or coached in (11) all of them.
- UNC lost in the championship series in 2006 and 2007 (Oregon State both times). They were eliminated by eventual National Champion Fresno State last year.
- The Golden Eagles are in the College World Series for the first time in program history.
- Southern Miss. had never reached a Super Regional prior to this season.
- They were the only #3 seed to reach a Super Regional this season.
- Southern Miss. head coach, Corky Palmer, announced his retirement in April.
- The team’s 80th double play of the season ended the clincher of their Super Regional win over #8 national seed Florida.
- The Sun Devils are in the College World Series for the 21st time in program history.
- Only Texas (32) and Miami (23) have been more times. USC has also gone 21 times.
- ASU has advanced to Omaha in every odd year since 2005.
- Head Coach Pat Murphy is taking his team to the CWS for the fourth time since 1998.
- With Murphy, there are now three former Notre Dame coaches who will coach at this year’s CWS. Murphy was head coach at ND from 1988-1994. LSU skipper Paul Mainieri was the Irish head coach from 1995-2006, and Virginia head coach was Mainieri’s pitching coach from 1995-2003.
Another former Notre Dame head coach will likely be in attendance in Omaha as well. Larry Gallo coached ND from 1981-’87. He is currently the Senior Associate Athletic Director at North Carolina, and he attended the CWS with UNC last year.