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O’Connor’s CWS roots run deep

Mon., June 23, 2014, midnight

Brian O’Connor has done just about everything at the College World Series except win a national championship. He’s got his chance now.

The 43-year-old O’Connor is the local boy who has done well, leading Virginia to the best-of-three finals against Vanderbilt starting tonight (5 p.m., ESPN).

The Cavaliers’ 11th-year coach was born in Omaha, Nebraska, grew up across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and as a kid attended CWS games with his dad at the old Rosenblatt Stadium.

When he was a player at Creighton in Omaha, he pulled cable for ESPN during games every year except one. That was 1991, when Creighton made its only CWS appearance, and O’Connor pitched in a game against Wichita State that people around Omaha still talk about.

The featured player on the “Road to Omaha” statue in front of TD Ameritrade Park is, you guessed it, based on O’Connor’s likeness.

Try as he may, as he did Sunday during a joint news conference with Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin, there’s no downplaying his deep connection to the area and event.

“It doesn’t mean any more to me than it does to Coach Corbin or any of our players on either team,” O’Connor said. “…It’s about these kids’ experience. – AP

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