Neither UCLA nor Mississippi State has been one of the 24 schools that won its last game of the season in Omaha.
That will change Tuesday or Wednesday when players from either UCLA or Mississippi State dogpile at TD Ameritrade to celebrate winning the national championship.
UCLA came close in 2010 but lost the championship series in two games to South Carolina. Mississippi State has sent eight other teams to the College World Series, with the 1985 team winning its first two games before losses to Texas and Miami derailed a run for a championship.
John Cohen was a player on the 1990 Mississippi State team that went 1-2 in Omaha. He said he is obviously honored to be the coach 23 years later who could bring an end to the frustration one of college baseball's most intense fan bases has experienced over the years.
“It's a pretty special feeling,” Cohen said. “I've told our players it was a thrill then (in 1990), but everything about Omaha has changed exponentially. Every part of it has just gotten better and better. It's become an incredible event.
“As a player, nothing seems to be as a big deal because you don't have anything to reflect upon your experiences. It's more special (now) because when you're older, you don't take as many things for granted.”
Only 13 schools can claim more NCAA tournament appearances than Mississippi State's 31. Only 15 have made more trips to Omaha than the Bulldogs. Winning the top prize, though, has eluded Cohen's predecessors, including the legendary Ron Polk.