Carl Lafferty begins his 11th season as a full-time assistant coach with the Rebels in 2017, including his eighth as the team's recruiting coordinator.
Since the 2010 season, Lafferty has served as the Rebels' recruiting coordinator, bringing in nationally ranked recruiting classes year after year. All seven of his recruiting classes have been ranked in the top 25, including five in the top 10 and three in the top five nationwide. Most recently, Lafferty's 2016 class was ranked No. 1 in national recruiting rankings conducted by Baseball America and D1Baseball.com. The top ranking became the first No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the history of Ole Miss Athletics.
Lafferty's first class was ranked No. 8 by Baseball America, a group that led the Rebels to Omaha in 2014 for the first time since 1972. In 2011, Lafferty helped haul in the first top-5 recruiting class of the Bianco era; the class was ranked third nationally by Collegiate Baseball and fifth by Baseball America. Ole Miss followed with another top-5 recruiting class in 2012, and the 2013 class ranked eighth to give the Rebels four straight top-10 classes.
Lafferty's success in putting together some of the nation's best classes has not gone unnoticed by his peers. In a 2016 survey conducted by D1Baseball.com, Division I baseball coaches named Lafferty as the fourth-best recruiting coordinator in the country.
In his time as a Rebel coach, Lafferty has developed 25 pitchers who have gone on to the professional ranks. Two Rebels from the 2016 team (Wyatt Short and Chad Smith) are the latest Ole Miss pitchers playing professionally after learning from Lafferty. In just one year working with Lafferty, Smith's draft stock soared as the Rebel was taken in the 11th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Short, a All-SEC closer in 2015, was chosen by the Chicago Cubs and made 15 appearances without allowing an earned run to begin his professional career.
Under the tutelage of Lafferty, Scott Weathersby worked his way up to a 10th round selection in the 2015 MLB Draft. Brady Bramlett (22nd round – Oakland) and Christian Trent (24th round – Milwaukee) were also drafted, with Bramlett deciding to return to the Rebels as the team's ace for the upcoming 2016 season.
In 2014, Lafferty helped guide Ole Miss to the College World Series for the first time since 1972. Following the memorable run to Omaha, nine Rebels were drafted including five pitchers who learned from Lafferty: Chris Ellis (Third round – Los Angeles Angels), Josh Laxer (Ninth round – Detroit), Hawtin Buchanan (20th round – Seattle), Aaron Greenwood (28th round – Houston) and Christian Trent (29th round – Los Angeles Dodgers).
The assistant coach continued to add to the list of professional pitchers following the 2013 campaign when four of the five drafted players were pitchers, including third round pick Mike Mayers, fifth round pick Bobby Wahl and both seniors Tanner Bailey and Brett Huber. Mayers made his MLB debut three years later, earning the start for the Cardinals on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.
The number of pitchers to go on to the professional ranks after playing under Lafferty grew following the 2012 season when Dylan Chavez (14th round – Boston) and R.J. Hively (19th round – Arizona) were both selected in the MLB Draft.
He added to his list of players to go on and play professional ball in 2011 with the selection of four pitchers and a catcher in the MLB Draft. David Goforth (7th round – Milwaukee), Austin Wright (8th round – Philadelphia), Miles Hamblin (12th round – Houston), Matt Crouse (24th round – Detroit) and Matt Tracy (24th round – New York Yankees) were all drafted and signed to play professionally.
Lafferty developed top pitching talent for the Rebels in 2010, guiding a pair of arms to All-America status. Junior southpaw Drew Pomeranz was named an All-America selection while right-hander Brett Huber was named a Freshman All-America selection. Both pitchers also garnered All-SEC honors. Pomeranz also went on to be named the SEC Pitcher of the Year, the first in the history of the award for Ole Miss. A finalist for the National Pitcher of the Year and the Golden Spikes Award, Pomeranz was taken by the Cleveland Indians with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, becoming the highest drafted player in school history. He was one of four pitchers under Lafferty’s tutelage to be drafted in 2010.
The trend continued in 2009 as the Rebels saw 11 players drafted, eight of whom worked under the direction of Lafferty. Six pitchers and two catchers were drafted in the 2009 season, including pitchers Scott Bittle (4th round - St. Louis), Nathan Baker (5th round - Pittsburgh), Brett Bukvich (18th round - Florida), Phillip Irwin (21st round - Pittsburgh), Aaron Barrett (27th round - Texas), Chris Corrigan (30th round - St. Louis), and catchers Brett Basham (50th round - San Diego) and Kyle Henson (39th round - San Francisco). The former catcher was also responsible for helping the Rebels claim the 2009 Southeastern Conference Championship.
In his first season as a full-time assistant, Lafferty tutored several players who went on to be drafted in the 2008 MLB Draft, including three pitchers taken in the first 75 picks - Lance Lynn (39), Cody Satterwhite (67) and Scott Bittle (75). Bittle earned first team All-America honors. Lafferty also worked with catcher, Brett Basham, who earned SEC All-Defensive team honors and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 16th round. Basham led the SEC in runners caught stealing and led all catchers in runners picked off. Lynn went on to help the St. Louis Cardinals claim the 2011 World Series in his rookie season in the Major Leagues.
Upon moving to a full-time position in 2008, Lafferty continued to work with the catchers, but also assumed duties assisting head coach Mike Bianco with the pitching staff before assuming duties as recruiting coordinator prior to the 2010 season.
In his first year back working on the field as a volunteer assistant in 2007, Lafferty worked with the outfielders and catchers, and assisted with the hitters. Lafferty also served as the first base coach. In his time working with the outfielders, Lafferty helped develop Jordan Henry, the 2007 SEC Freshman of the Year selection and a Freshman All-America selection. He also worked with his brother, Justin, a ninth round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.
Lafferty returned to Ole Miss in 2004 to complete his degree after having spent several years playing professional baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Lafferty earned his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology from the University of Mississippi in 2004.
He was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 20th round of the 2001 MLB Draft. After a short stint with the Marlins, Lafferty signed a professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. The catcher played two seasons (2002-03) with the Peoria Chiefs, a single-A affiliate of the Cardinals, and also played with the high-A affiliate, the Palm Beach Cardinals.
A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he played for the Rebels from 1998-2001, finishing his career in the first year under current head coach Mike Bianco. A four-time letterwinner, Lafferty hit .307 for his career with 104 RBI. He also notched 42 extra-base hits, including 16 home runs.
As a senior, Lafferty was named to the All-SEC second team, becoming the schools 92nd All-SEC honoree in program history. Lafferty also served as team captain that season.
Lafferty is married to the former Lauren Nelson of Baldwyn, Mississippi. The couple has three children, William Carl Lafferty IV, and twins, Henry and Drew.
THE LAFFERTY FILE
Coaching Career 2010-present: Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Ole Miss 2008-09: Assistant Coach, Ole Miss 2007: Volunteer Assistant Coach, Ole Miss 2006: Director of Operations, Ole Miss
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