By Adam Brown
Ole Miss head baseball coach Mike Bianco announced the elevation of Chris Cleary to Volunteer Assistant Coach from Coordinator of Operations on Friday.
Cleary spent the last two seasons as the Coordinator of Operations (External Affairs), filling administrative duties for the Rebel baseball program. Prior to that, he was an on-field assistant at Creighton, Butler and Menlo College.
“Chris was outstanding as a Director of Operations, but his background is in coaching,” Bianco said. “He was an assistant at Creighton, Butler and Menlo and has been on the field basically his whole career. Administratively, he has a lot of great qualities. When we hired him as Director of Operations, we knew eventually that there would be a chance to get him back out on the field.”
The Fresno, California native is replacing Marc MacMillan who also joined the Rebel program as a Director of Operations in 2014 before earning a promotion to Volunteer Assistant Coach in 2016. MacMillan was hired as the head coach at Charleston Southern in May.
“I am excited and thankful for the opportunity to get back on the field to coach and assist in the development of the baseball student-athletes here at Ole Miss,” Cleary said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Coach Bianco and the rest of the staff over my two years here and hope to continue to contribute to the success of the program going forward.”
Cleary graduated from Menlo College in Atherton, California, with a degree in sport management in 2012. He played four seasons for the Oaks as a pitcher and middle infielder. A dean’s list student off the field, Cleary also led Menlo to a conference title in 2012.
A native of Fresno, California, Cleary joined the Menlo baseball program as the outfield coach for the 2013 season, where he helped lead the program to a record 34 wins and an appearance in the Cascade Conference Championship game. Under Cleary’s guidance, the Oaks ranked in the top five nationally in fielding percentage (.970). He was later elevated to pitching coach in 2013. During his time at Menlo, Cleary coached two MLB draftees, five All-Cascade Conference players, an NAIA All-American and conference player of the year.
Cleary transitioned to Butler University in 2014, where he served as an assistant coach, working with infielders and assisting with hitters. In Cleary’s second year in the program, the Bulldogs set a program record in fielding percentage with a .970 mark.
In the fall of 2016, Cleary joined the staff at Creighton, where he served as the volunteer assistant coach and as a staff administrator. With Cleary in the fold, the Bluejays improved their record from 24-25 in 2017 to 34-16 in 2018. In Cleary’s final season in Omaha, Creighton collected three first-team All-Big East nods, one All-American and four MLB draftees, the program’s most since 2006.