Virginia’s O’Connor honored by College World Series statue originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
For anyone who goes to Omaha to watch or play in the College World Series, the first thing you’re going to notice at the ballpark is a big statue out front.
It’s called “The Road to Omaha,” commemorating the 1991 Creighton Blue Jays team that became the first and only hometown team to make it to the College World Series. One of the players in the statue is former Creighton pitcher and now Virginia baseball coach Brian O’Connor.
O’Connor doesn’t like to talk about his presence in the statue with his players, though that doesn’t keep his guys from taking pictures with it for fun. But as he gets set for his first appearance in the World Series since the Cavaliers won it all in 2015, O’Connor acknowledged the privilege of being a part of something so historically prominent.
“It’s an honor,” O’Connor told reporters Friday. “It’s a privilege to be able to come back to Omaha. I come back quite often because my parents live here. But as we came in before practice today, I had a chance for my family to come over here and get a picture in front of that iconic statue that everybody thinks of when you think of Omaha and the College World Series.”
However, O’Connor’s focus on the statue stops right there. He’s been to Omaha before and won on the biggest stage, so he wants to keep the focus on his players and the opportunity they have to do something special.
“It’s about these young men,” O’Connor said. “It’s their experience. I’ve had this experience — don’t get me wrong; I’m excited to be here and looking forward to competing. But it’s about them and their opportunity here in Omaha.”
Virginia kicks off its 2021 College World Series run Sunday at 2 p.m. against Tennessee. Senior left-hander Andrew Abbott has been pegged as the starting pitcher.