Miami University End 44-Year Streak, No Bid For NCAA Baseball Tournament
The longest streak of appearing in an NCAA playoff tournament, in any NCAA Division I sport was broken on Monday when the Miami Hurricane’s baseball team was denied a spot in this year’s NCAA baseball tournament. The Hurricanes had appeared in the bracket every year for the past 44 years, starting in 1973.
With a record of 31-27, the legendary baseball program was not good enough to earn an at-large berth in the the tournament of 64 teams. The Hurricanes had an opportunity to have an automatic bid into the tournament through the ACC Championship tournament, but their loss to North Carolina in the semi-finals on Saturday kept them from contention.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of 44,” Jim Morris, Miami’s head coach of 24 years, told reporters. “It’s a streak that’s unmatched in any sport in NCAA history. Being part of that, part of that with Coach Fraser, it’s an honor. I’m very disappointed that we didn’t get in.”
Morris was hired by Ron Fraser, who is the longest tenured coach in Miami history – he coached for 30 years between 1963-1992. Fraser, who coached for over 1,600 games, had a career winning percentage of .742, and was largely responsible for Miami’s rise to prominence. Kelly’s winning percentage is the only one that comes close to Fraser’s – Kelly, who will retire after next season, currently has a career percentage of .704. The two coaches have combined for 2,333 wins and only 884 losses.
Between Fraser and Morris, the Miami Hurricanes appeared in 25 College World Series’, winning four times and finishing second twice. Their longest streak for appearing the in the CWS was seven years between 1994-2001. Kelly’s first season as the team’s head coach was 1994.
Since the 44-year streak began, 568 players earned letters. On Monday, the players who carried on the legacy of the players before them, were devastated.
“It’s hard,” infielder Johnny Ruiz told the AP. “Being a guy from Coral Gables … it’s been an honor to play my four years here. I came back to try to help this team win. So it’s just hard. I’m sorry.”
Still, they players take pride in knowing that they contributed to the streak in some way.
Said Christopher Barr, Miami’s senior first baseman, “All the past players here, they’re always watching. I’m going to be watching for the rest of my life. You can cut me open, I’m going to be orange and green forever.”
The longest active tournament streak in baseball now belongs to Florida State, with 40. They have a number 1 seed ranking in the first round’s Tallahassee Regional.