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  1. Mark Kingston Named Head Baseball Coach at South Carolina Eight-Year Head Coaching Veteran Takes Over Gamecock Program GCF Staff Report June 30, 2017 Mark Kingston has been named the head baseball coach at the University of South Carolina, Athletics Director Ray Tannerannounced today. He becomes the 30th head coach in the history of Gamecock Baseball. (MORE)
  2. Mark Kingston salary, contract details June 30, 2017 New South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston will be receiving a significant raise from his previous stop at USF. Kingston’s contract is for six years, beginning June 30, 2017 and ending June 30, 2023, and calls for annual compensation of $600,000. His annual base salary is $475,000, and he will receive an additional $125,000 each contract year for media/personal services. Kingston was making $140,000 at South Florida. Former Gamecocks coach Chad Holbrook was paid $400,000 annually before resigning earlier this month. Kingston’s salary also includes several incentives that would lead to additional pay. If the Gamecocks win the SEC East he will receive an additional $10,000, while if USC wins the SEC regular season championship or tournament championship he will receive an additional $15,000. As for the NCAA Tournament, Kingston will receive $10,000 if USC is in but does not host a regional and $15,000 if USC is a host site. If the Gamecocks advance to a super regional, Kingston will receive an additional $10,000 if Carolina is on the road for a super regional and $20,000 if USC hosts a super regional. He will also will receive an additional $20,000 if the Gamecocks advance to the College World Series. If South Carolina is a finalist for the College World Series Kingston will receive an additional $30,000, and if USC wins the national title he will get a bonus of $80,000. THE STATE
  3. A look at Mark Kingston’s résumé June 30, 2017 USF’s Mark Kingston reportedly has been hired by South Carolina Gamecocks baseball. Now for a closer look at the résumé he brings to Columbia. Previous stops as head coach: Illinois State, USF (As an assistant: Miami, Tulane, Illinois State, Purdue) Career record: 253-180-1 (170–101 at Illinois State, 100–78-1 at USF) Accomplishments: Led Bulls to two NCAA tournaments in three seasons ▪ Ending 12-year NCAA drought in first season in Tampa ▪ Won 42 games in 2017, earning a No. 2 seed in the Gainesville Regional ▪ Beat both Florida and Florida State in 2017 ▪ Won Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year twice in five seasons at Illinois State ▪ Was an assistant on Miami’s 2001 College World Series Championship team ▪ Helped lead Tulane to the 2005 College World Series ▪ Coached Kevin Merrell, the No. 33 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft Alma Mater: North Carolina Age: 47 Playing Career: Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1992. Played five seasons with Milwaukee and Chicago Cubs organizations. USF’s Mark Kingston reportedly has been hired by South Carolina Gamecocks baseball. Now for a closer look at the résumé he brings to Columbia. Previous stops as head coach: Illinois State, USF (As an assistant: Miami, Tulane, Illinois State, Purdue) Career record: 253-180-1 (170–101 at Illinois State, 100–78-1 at USF) Accomplishments: Led Bulls to two NCAA tournaments in three seasons Year-by-Year 2010 Illinois State 32-24, NCAA Regionals / MVC Tournament Champions 2011 Illinois State 36-18, MVC Tournament 2012 Illinois State 33-19, MVC Tournament 2013 Illinois State 39-19, MVC Regular Season & MVC Tournament Runner-Up 2014 Illinois State 33-22, MVC Tournament Runner-Up 2015 USF 34-26-1, NCAA Regionals 2016 USF 24-33 2017 USF 42-19, NCAA Regionals ▪ Ending 12-year NCAA drought in first season in Tampa ▪ Won 42 games in 2017, earning a No. 2 seed in the Gainesville Regional ▪ Beat both Florida and Florida State in 2017 ▪ Won Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year twice in five seasons at Illinois State ▪ Was an assistant on Miami’s 2001 College World Series Championship team ▪ Helped lead Tulane to the 2005 College World Series ▪ Coached Kevin Merrell, the No. 33 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft
  4. What they’re saying about USC’s Mark Kingston hire June 30, 2017 Reaction from across the web to South Carolina’s reported hire of USC’s Mark Kingston to lead the Gamecocks baseball program. Kendall Rogers, National Writer/Editor for D1Baseball LT Tolbert Cody Jones, former Florida writer for Scout ESPN/SEC Network announcer Mike Morgan William Gunter, Co-host of The Early Game on 107.5 The Game Aaron Fitt
  5. South Carolina expected to hire Mark Kingston as new baseball coach June 29, 2017 South Carolina will hire USF coach Mark Kingston as its new baseball coach, according to a report from Dan Lucas of WFLA. It was reported earlier on Thursday that the South Carolina board will meet on Friday, with a baseball coach contract approval on the agenda. Kingston’s USF squad finished the 2017 season with a 42-19 record and made a NCAA regional appearance. He has a 253-180-1 record and three NCAA regional appearances through eight seasons as a head coach, three of which were spent at South Florida (2015-17). Prior to his arrival there, he coached five seasons at Illinois State (2010-14) and won the Missouri Valley coach of the year award twice. Prior to becoming a head coach, Kingston spent 13 seasons as an assistant college baseball coach at Purdue (1997-98), Illinois State (1999, 2009), Miami (2000-01) and Tulane (2002-08). According to his bio on the official USF baseball website, Kingston was “drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers out of North Carolina in 1992, the Northern Virginia native played professionally for five seasons with Milwaukee and the Chicago Cubs organizations.” The Gamecocks have been looking for a replacement for former coach Chad Holbrook, who resigned at the conclusion of the 2017 season which saw the Gamecocks miss the field of 64 in the NCAA baseball tournament.
  6. Report: New contract for South Carolina baseball coach on board agenda June 29, 2017 South Carolina has yet to name a replacement for former baseball coach Chad Holbrook, but the contract for the next USC baseball coach is slated to be on the Board of Trustees’ agenda, according to a report from The State. The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, according to the report. “I understand it is for a new baseball coach, but I don’t know who it is,” a Board of Trustees member told The State. USF coach Mark Kingston and new National Champion Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan appear to be the top candidates. South Carolina baseball is just six years removed from winning back-to-back National Championships.
  7. Potential USC baseball candidate staying in ACC June 28, 2017 You can remove a name from the list of potential candidates to be the next head baseball coach at South Carolina. Wake Forest coach Tom Walter has signed a seven-year contract to remain the head coach of the Demon Deacons, Wake Forest announced Wednesday morning. The deal runs through the 2024 season. Walter was listed as a potential candidate at USC after leading Wake Forest to a Super Regional this past year. The Demon Deacons lost a three-game series to eventual national champion Florida 2-1. Gamecocks athletics director Ray Tanner said recently that he expects the USC job to be filled "in the next few days." Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan, USF coach Mark Kingston, Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday and Clemson coach Monte Lee are thought to be candidates. THE STATE
  8. Ray Tanner expects USC baseball coaching search to end ‘In the next few days’ June 26, 2017 In an interview posted Monday by WISTV.com's Jeremy Turnage, Tanner said that he hopes to name a coach in the next few days. The South Carolina baseball coaching search could be winding down soon. The USC baseball head coaching job has been open since Chad Holbrook resigned on June 6. “I think there’s a lot of people that would be really good fits so we’re narrowing down the search and hope to name a coach in the next few days,” Tanner said. The only coach known to have interviewed at this point is USF head coach Mark Kingston. Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan and Wake Forest head coach Tom Walter are also considered to be candidates. Tanner said the job has attracted interest from several top coaches. “I believe very strongly that our job here is a top three or top five job in the country so we’ve attracted a lot of really good candidates,” he said. “It was a short list from the very beginning so it remains a short list. We’ll name a coach in the near future.” O’Sullivan’s Gators are playing LSU in a best-of-three series for the national title with Game 1 Monday night, Game 2 Tuesday and Game 3 Wednesday, if necessary. O’Sullivan has been rumored to be Tanner’s top choice, but his team’s run to the College World Series finals could hurt USC’s chances of landing him. He currently has a buyout of $1 million, which drops to $750,000 on July 1. If USC is unable to land a big name such as O’Sullivan, Kingston and Walter would be second tier candidates that would likely receive strong consideration. Kingston, who interviewed over the weekend, began his coaching career at Purdue as an assistant in 1997. He was also an assistant at Illinois State, Miami and Tulane before being named the head coach at Illinois State in 2010. In his five seasons at Illinois State his team made the NCAA Tournament once and also made the MVC Tournament Championship Game on two other occasions. Kingston left to take over the USF program prior to the 2015 season and led the Bulls to the NCAA Tournament in 2015 and 2017. USF finished 42-19 this past season as the Bulls won 40 games for the first time since 1996. Walter has been a head coach in college baseball since 1997 with stops at George Washington and New Orleans before taking over the Wake Forest job in 2010. He took over a Wake Forest program coming off a 22-30 season, including a 6-21 mark in ACC play, and slowly built the Demon Deacons up. After making the NCAA Tournament just once from 2003-2015, Wake Forest advanced to the postseason each of the past two years, losing to Florida in a Super Regional this season. No matter who is named USC’s next coach, it sounds like the news should come by the middle of next week at the latest.
  9. Tanner holds first on campus interview with coaching candidate JUNE 22, 2017 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Link: sportstalk Mark Kingston (From USF) At 8:30 Thursday night the stadium lights were on at Founders Park in Columbia and we were told it was possible Gamecock athletic director Ray Tanner was showing the facility to a candidate for his baseball coaching job. Our information was that candidate could be South Florida coach Mark Kingston. John Whittle of The Big Spur later confirmed the information making Kingston the first known candidate to replace Chad Holbrook. Kingston was a teammate of Holbrook’s at North Carolina and just completed his third season with the Bulls with an NCAA regional bid and a record of 42-19. He has taken USF to the NCAA Tournament in two of his three seasons. Prior to coming to Tampa he was the head coach at Illinois State and went to one tournament in five years. Kingston’s overall record in eight seasons as a head coach is 253-180-1. USF had one of the nation’s top ERAs this season at 3.24 and led the nation in strikeouts at 10.1 per nine innings setting a program record with 620 strikeouts.
  10. Good fit or not? A look at 5 candidates for the South Carolina baseball job June 22, 2017 Why five candidates for the South Carolina baseball job would be a good fit in Columbia and why they might not be a good fit for the Gamecocks. Kevin O’Sullivan Florida head coach Why a good fit: O’Sullivan has led the Gators to the College World Series five of the past seven years and is widely recognized as one of the top coaches in the nation. He has ties to the area after working as an assistant at Clemson from 1999-2007 and is reportedly not thrilled with the facilities and fan support in Gainesville. Why not a good fit: Florida is a great job, and while fan support and facilities are not the best, there is tons of talent in the Sunshine State and O’Sullivan has already proven he can win big at Florida. He also has a $1 million buyout that drops to $750,000 July 1, and he makes more than $1 million per year. Monte Lee Clemson head coach Why a good fit: Lee was an assistant at South Carolina from 2003-2008 and is very close friends with Gamecocks AD Ray Tanner. It was thought that being the head coach at USC was Lee’s dream job before he left his alma mater, the College of Charleston, to take the head coaching job at Clemson before the 2016 season. His salary is just north of $400,000 and USC would have no problem topping that. Why not a good fit: Lee would make several enemies in Clemson if he left to coach the Tigers’ in-state rival, and Clemson is also a really good job with strong facilities. Lee could be in line for a raise this offseason. Lee recently said he has not heard from Tanner about the USC job, “I’m very happy at Clemson. I don’t anticipate going anywhere anytime soon. If Clemson’s going to have me as the head coach this is where I want to be. No he has not reached out to me about the South Carolina job.” Josh Holliday Oklahoma State head coach Why a good fit: Since taking over the Oklahoma State program in 2013 he has led the Cowboys to five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including a College World Series berth in 2016. He coached as an assistant at NC State, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt prior to going to OSU so he has experience in the Southeast and in the SEC. Why not a good fit: Holliday is coaching at his alma mater and appears to be very happy there. He is also well paid, making $600,000 a year, although USC would have no problem topping that. Tom Walter Wake Forest head coach Why a good fit: Walter has taken over struggling programs in George Washington, New Orleans and Wake Forest and turned all three of them around. He has led Wake Forest to the NCAA tournament each of the past two seasons and the Demon Deacons made a Super Regional this year, falling 2-1 to Florida. Why not a good fit: Walter has only one season with a winning record in ACC play during his eight years at Wake Forest and has a .550 winning percentage as a head coach. But he has not coached at a place with the facilities or commitment to baseball that South Carolina has. Chris Lemonis Indiana head coach Why a good fit: He played at The Citadel, spent time as an assistant at The Citadel and has led Indiana to the NCAA tournament in two of his three seasons with the Hoosiers. Lemonis also spent several years as an assistant at Louisville under Dan McDonnell, who is recognized as one of the top coaches in the country. Why not a good fit: Lemonis’ best finish in the Big 10 is third and he has not advanced past the regional round of the NCAA Tournament in his two appearances. THE STATE
  11. Report: Potential candidate will not be next baseball coach at South Carolina June 15, 2017 Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich has been mentioned as a possible candidate at South Carolina and one report had him set to interview for the vacant job. But according to Kendall Rogers, who is a national writer/editor at D1Baseball, Bakich is staying put. Rogers tweeted out Wednesday evening that Bakich is “NOT a candidate for the South Carolina job. Bakich made it crystal clear he’s committed to UM long-term. Rogers also reported that Bakich turned down the Stanford job, which is also open. According to a report from The Detroit News earlier this week, Michigan Director of Athletics Warde Manuel recently offered Bakich a five-year contract extension.
  12. How the College World Series, other openings affect Gamecocks coach search June 15, 2017 There are 13 head coaching jobs open in Division I baseball, including Power 5 jobs at Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Stanford. But what happens with coaching searches around the country is not likely to have much of an impact on who Ray Tanner hires to lead the Gamecocks program. USC is considered to be an elite job by most in the country and for the most part will have different candidates from the other programs looking to hire a head coach. “It’s an easy top seven or eight job,” Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball said of USC. “When you look at the fan support, obviously the facilities and the money, I think they’re willing to commit to the sport and the program there, I think it’s way up there. I think it’s a great job.” One coach who had been mentioned as a possibility at South Carolina, as well as another school, was Michigan’s Erik Bakich. Bakich was reportedly a finalist for the Stanford job and had been mentioned as a candidate for the USC job if Tanner is unable to reel in a bigger name. But Rogers reported Wednesday evening that Bakich turned down the Stanford position and is staying put at Michigan long-term. “When you look around the country right now, Stanford isn’t far off as far as a job. Stanford is a great job. But I don’t think who they’re going to go with would really affect the South Carolina job,” Rogers said. “I honestly don’t see any of the other jobs really factoring into the equation. I think the guys they’re going to go after are other guys.” As far as when a hire at South Carolina could take place, it might be after the College World Series is complete in late June. Although all three would be hard to pry away, Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan, Louisville’s Dan McDonnell and TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle are coaching in the College World Series and could receive a call from Tanner to gauge interest when their seasons are over. Of the three, O’Sullivan would be the most likely for USC to have a chance to hire. If O’Sullivan or another top proven candidate does not accept the job, Tom Walter at Wake Forest and Chris Lemonis of Indiana are names to keep an eye on. THE STATE
  13. Coaching rumors: Baseball insider says South Carolina could land Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan as next head coach June 10, 2017 Kendall Rogers of D1baseball.com told Matt Moscona of ESPN 104.5 that the he would not be surprised if the Gamecocks hired Kevin O’Sullivan as the next head coach. O’Sullivan is the Gators head coach for the Florida Gators. O’Sullivan has won 4 SEC regular season titles at Florida since taking over the program in 2008 and has the Gators in a Super Regional this weekend with a shot to advance to the College World Series. Prior to taking the Florida job, O’Sullivan had been an assistant coach at Clemson from 1999-2007. This previous offseason Sullivan did agree to a contract extension through 2025. At Florida he is paid $1.25 million annually and should he leave Florida before July of 2017, O’Sullivan would owe Florida $1 million. South Carolina’s athletic director, Ray Tanner, was the Gamecocks baseball coach before he took the job back in 2012. During his time as head coach, South Carolina won back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011. This past season, South Carolina went 35-25 and missed the NCAA tournament. SECCOUNTRY
  14. Michigan’s Erik Bakich expected to interview with South Carolina baseball June 10, 2017 Michigan’s Erik Bakich is expected to get an interview with South Carolina baseball for its vacant head coaching job, according to a source. Bakich led Michigan to a 40-win season and a regional appearance in 2017. During his tenure in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines reached two NCAA Tournaments and won a Big Ten Tournament title in 2015. Bakich is familiar with the SEC, having served as an assistant at Vanderbilt from 2003-09 and also has experience in South Carolina from coaching at Clemson in 2002. Athletic director Ray Tanner is handling the coaching search for South Carolina after Chad Holbrook’s resignation. He stressed Wednesday that he is seeking a coach that understands what South Carolina baseball culture is about. “You always hear about the cliché of someone who fits,” Tanner said. “I think that can be used broadly, but someone who understands it. And maybe who has experienced it one way or another, being in this region or in the southeast. That’s not to say we are limited by the geography, but someone who understands what South Carolina baseball and the brand is about.” Bakich played at East Carolina and was the head coach at Maryland before taking over at Michigan. Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan also is being reported as a strong candidate for the opening with South Carolina baseball. The Gators host Wake Forest in the Super Regionals on Saturday. Holbrook resigned on Tuesday night after five years at the helm for the Gamecocks. Holbrook spent four years as an assistant on Tanner’s staff, coaching on two national championship teams. SECCOUNTRY
  15. Updated list for USC baseball coaching search June 09, 2017 Updated list of names to watch in South Carolina baseball coaching search Tier 1: Home run hire Louisville coach Dan McDonnell: A former player at The Citadel, McDonnell has built Louisville into a powerhouse. Including this season, the Cardinals have advanced to at least a super regional each of the past five years with two College World Series appearances during that time. The Gamecocks would have to pay up to have a chance at McDonnell as he is making $1 million per year. Virginia coach Brian O’Connor: O’Connor has been the head coach at Virginia since 2004 and has led the Cavaliers to the NCAA tournament each season with four trips to the College World Series since 2009, including a national championship in 2015. He is well compensated at $600,000 per year but South Carolina would have no problem topping that salary if Ray Tanner decides O’Connor is his guy and can convince him to come to Columbia. Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan: The former Clemson assistant has led Florida to the College World Series five times since 2010 and has the Gators in a super regional this season. Prying him away won’t be easy, but South Carolina has much better facilities and fan support than Florida. O’Sullivan is one of the highest paid coaches in the country at more than $1 million per season so hiring him will not be cheap. TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle: A former assistant at Elon and Clemson, Schlossnagle has turned TCU into one of the top programs in the country. The Horned Frogs have reached the College World Series three consecutive seasons and are in a super regional this year. Schlossnagle will also not be cheap as his salary is well over $1 million, reportedly at approximately $1.4 million. Tier 2: Successful coaches at big programs Arizona coach Jay Johnson: The 40-year-old has quickly risen up the college ranks, going from an assistant at San Diego in 2013 to the head coach at Arizona in 2016. He had a stop as the head coach at Nevada along the way and was 72-42 in two seasons there. Johnson led Arizona to a College World Series Runner-Up finish in 2016 and made the tournament this season. Clemson coach Monte Lee: The former College of Charleston coach and current Clemson coach is close with Tanner from his time working as an assistant at USC from 2003-08. It would certainly be unusual for Lee to go from the Tigers to Gamecocks, but he would likely accept Tanner's phone call and at least listen to what he has to say. The Tigers hosted regionals in each of Lee’s first two seasons at Clemson but have yet to advance to a super regional. Wake Forest coach Tom Walter: The coach at Wake Forest since 2010, Walter has helped the Demon Deacons reach the NCAA tournament the past two seasons, and Wake will play in a super regional this weekend. Walter previously helped George Washington and New Orleans reach the NCAA tournament before taking over at Wake Forest. Tier 3: Up-and-coming coaches with an impressive resume Michigan coach Erik Bakich: A former assistant at Clemson and then Vanderbilt, Bakich has led Michigan to the NCAA tournament two of the past three seasons. Bakich played at East Carolina and had a stop as the head coach at Maryland before taking over the Michigan program. South Alabama coach Mark Calvi: South Carolina fans are familiar with this name as Calvi was an assistant at USC from 2005-2010. He has been the head coach at South Alabama since 2012 and has led his program to the NCAA tournament twice, including this season. Indiana coach Chris Lemonis: A former player and assistant coach at The Citadel, Lemonis was an assistant at Louisville before taking over the Hoosiers program in 2015. Indiana has advanced to the NCAA tournament in two of his three years as head coach. UCF coach Greg Lovelady: Lovelady has excelled in his four years as a head coach, leading UCF to the NCAA tournament this season and Wright State to the tourney the previous two years. Lovelady was a longtime assistant at Wright State before taking over the program and continuing the success. THE STATE
  16. Who’s up next? Names to watch in USC baseball coaching search June 07, 2017 South Carolina has one of the best baseball facilities in the country, as well as a good fan base and an impressive history. USC should be able to hire a top-notch coach. Here is a list of potential candidates to replace Chad Holbrook: Dan McDonnell A former player at The Citadel, McDonnell has built Louisville into a powerhouse. Including this season, the Cardinals have advanced to at least a super regional each of the past five years with two College World Series appearances during that time. The Gamecocks would have to pay up to have a chance at McDonnell, as he is making $1 million per year. Jim Schlossnagle A former assistant at Elon and Clemson, Schlossnagle has turned TCU into one of the top programs in the country. The Horned Frogs have reached the College World Series three consecutive seasons and are in a super regional this year. Kevin O’Sullivan The former Clemson assistant led Florida to the College World Series the past two years and has the Gators in a super regional this season. Prying him away won’t be easy. Brian O’Connor O’Connor has been at Virginia since 2004 and has led the Cavaliers to the NCAA tournament each season with four trips to the College World Series since 2009. Erik Bakich A former assistant at Clemson and Vanderbilt, Bakich has led Michigan to the NCAA tournament two of the past three seasons. Tim Corbin The coach at Vanderbilt knows USC athletics director Ray Tanner well from his time as an assistant at Clemson and head coach of the Commodores. Vandy has been in the NCAA tournament every season since 2006 with three College World Series appearances, including a national title in 2014. Monte Lee The former College of Charleston coach and current Clemson coach is close with Tanner from his time working as an assistant at USC from 2003-08. It would certainly be unusual for Lee to go from the Tigers to Gamecocks, but he would likely accept Tanner's phone call. Tom Walter The coach at Wake Forest since 2010, Walter has helped the Demon Deacons reach the NCAA tournament the past two seasons, and Wake will play in a super regional this weekend. Walter previously helped George Washington and New Orleans reach the NCAA tournament before taking over at Wake Forest. Greg Lovelady The UCF coach has excelled in four years, leading UCF to the NCAA tournament this season, and the previous two years at Wright State, where he was longtime assistant. Mark Calvi South Carolina fans are familiar with Calvi, an assistant at USC from 2005-10. He has been the head coach at South Alabama since 2012 and led his program to the NCAA tournament twice, including this season. THE STATE
  17. South Carolina baseball recruits still processing news of coaching change June 08, 2017 The ramifications of Chad Holbrook’s resignation as the University of South Carolina’s baseball head coach will be felt throughout the program, the university and the college baseball landscape. However, the biggest impact will likely fall on the incoming class of recruits – one that includes Sumter High School’s Jordan Holladay and Wilson Hall’s McLendon Sears. The duo received word of Holbrook stepping down late Tuesday via text message from assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Sammy Esposito moments before the news leaked on Twitter. “I was surprised,” Sears said. “I hated to see it happen because I really liked Coach Holbrook and Coach Espo and Coach (Jerry) Meyers and all those guys. I hated to hear it because I really wanted to play for those guys. I liked them a lot.” It was in Holbrook’s office that Sears made his commitment to USC, he said, and the two have had a strong relationship since then. “We’ve kept in touch and I’ve seen him at some of my games,” Sears said. “I really liked him and the coaching staff a lot and he was one of the reasons I decided to go there.” Holbrook’s departure isn’t going to change Sears’ mind about being a Gamecock next season, he said. “I committed to a university; I didn’t commit to a coaching staff,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen anywhere you go. It’s a business and that’s understandable. “But I’ll play for the next coach and hopefully we’ll get along well, whoever it is.” Holladay had a similar reaction of being surprised, and even though it was under Holbrook that he committed to USC, the change in staff won’t affect his decision to go to Columbia either. “Carolina was where I wanted to go to school even before baseball started,” Holladay said. “As of right now, unless something major changes, I’m going to stay at Carolina.” While there will likely be some adjustments to dealing with a coaching staff that’s up in the air, Holladay said his main focus is just on getting ready for next season. “I’m just going to go out there and give it my all,” Holladay said. “Whether Coach Holbrook would have stayed or whoever the new coach will be, I still have to go out there and work hard and execute and play to the best of my ability. “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond.” The news likely stung a little more for former players and friends. Matt Price, the former Sumter High and Sumter P-15’s standout, got to USC right around the same time as Holbrook. They were part of the back-to-back College World Series championship teams in 2010 and 2011. “I was shocked,” Price said of learning Holbrook stepped down. “At first I was like, ‘Oh man that’s tough.’ He’s such a class act and does everything the right way. I only hope the best for him.” Price credits Holbrook as being someone who was always good at getting him motivated before big games – especially against Clemson. “My freshmen year we went up to Clemson on a Friday night,” Price said. “He comes in the huddle and says, ‘Hey, this is what we live for right here – these rivalry games.’ He was one of those guys that got you pumped up, and I always respected him for that.” The former USC closer also credits Holbrook with influencing his own coaching career after working under him as a student assistant two years ago. “There’s so much more that goes into coaching,” Price said. “Picking the right lineup based on who the other team is throwing and making sure you have the right guys in the right spots and playing the guys who are doing well – those are all things that I picked up from him.” Northwestern pitcher weighs in USC pitcher commitment John Gilreath, a rising senior at Northwestern High School, issued this statement on his future: THE STATE
  18. Is Ray Tanner willing to pay whatever it takes for Gamecocks new head coach? June 08, 2017 Ray Tanner will not hire a search firm as South Carolina begins the process of trying to find its next baseball coach. Ray Tanner is the search firm. The coaching legend and current USC athletics director knows what he is looking for in the next leader of the Gamecocks’ program. “A coach that is much like the ones that have been here in the past,” Tanner said Wednesday afternoon, a day after Chad Holbrook announced his resignation. “Coaches that embrace this tradition, embrace our fan base, embrace the expectations, embrace a wonderful atmosphere here at Founders Park with opportunities galore to compete at a high level.” Tanner spent 25 years as a head coach between his time at N.C. State at USC and currently serves on the NCAA Baseball Selection Committee, where he regularly interacts with baseball coaches and ADs. That should be beneficial as he goes through the process of trying to find a new coach. “I haven’t lost the connections that I’ve had over the years, and being a part of the NCAA selection committee has enhanced that in a lot of ways,” Tanner said. “I feel like that’s a little bit of an advantage with the relationships that I have created over the years.” Several of those relationships are with coaches in the ACC and the SEC who have played in front of soldout crowds of more than 8,000 at Founders Park. Guys like Kevin O’Sullivan at Florida, Tim Corbin at Vanderbilt and Monte Lee at Clemson fit that description. Other relationships are with former assistants who coached under Tanner and know what he expects, such as Mark Calvi at South Alabama. “Someone who understands our culture and maybe has experienced it in one way or another, being in this region or in the Southeast,” Tanner continued as to what he is looking for. “That’s not to say we’re limited by the geography, but someone that understands what Carolina baseball and the brand is about.”
  19. Ray Tanner hopes to have new South Carolina baseball ‘sooner than later’ June 08, 2017 COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina baseball is in the market for a new head coach, but athletics director Ray Tanner doesn’t want that to be the case for long. Speaking Wednesday afternoon after coach Chad Holbrook resigned late Tuesday night, Tanner said that he hopes to fill the vacancy “sooner than later” as the Gamecocks hunt for their third coach in the past 20 years. “I think about this program as a great opportunity,” Tanner said. “It has tradition. It has great history. We have a wonderful fan base. We have great opportunities to be successful. That has been realized. Hopefully, it will be moving forward.” Tanner’s wish list for the next head coach starts with someone who “is much like the ones that have been here in the past,” he said in the new media room at Founders Park, rattling off the desire for a coach who embraces South Carolina baseball’s rich tradition, fan base, atmosphere and expectations. “You always hear about the cliché of someone who fits,” Tanner said. “I think that can be used broadly, but someone who understands it. And maybe who has experienced it one way or another, being in this region or in the southeast. That’s not to say we are limited by the geography, but someone who understands what South Carolina baseball and the brand is about.” Beyond those desires, Tanner expressed that he does not have a preference in mind when it comes to hiring a head coach from a Power 5 school, a head coach from a smaller school or an assistant coach. He stressed experience is important, but quickly noted that many assistant coaches have become successful head coaches, including in the SEC recently. Whether it’s a coach with a handful of College World Series appearances or an assistant coach, Tanner is open to either and said he does not have “any guidelines” in that realm. Tanner joked about wishing he started coaching baseball in this era, when top college coaches command salaries in the range of $1 million annually. There won’t be an unlimited budget, Tanner said, but he expects the Gamecocks to be competitive in the market for a new coach when it comes to finances. “I think you can look at our coaches today across the board and we are pretty close in all of our situations,” Tanner said. “If those are the numbers in baseball that we are dealing with base on experience and their resume, I can tell you that’s a possibility.” Tanner does not have a timeline in mind to have the next coach in place, indicating that potential candidates “in many cases” are involved with their teams at present. The College World Series heads into the Super Regional round later this week, with 16 teams remaining in the field. Tanner, widely respected and connected in the college baseball world, will not be utilizing a search firm in the hiring process. He met with assistant coaches Tuesday night, pegging pitching coach Jerry Meyers as the interim head coach. Meyers and other staff members at South Carolina will not be among the candidates considered for the head coaching job. The assistant coaches reached out to current players last night and have been in the process of contacting recruits committed to the Gamecocks. There was little talk of the past five years on Wednesday, apart from Tanner discussing some of the issues that plagued the Gamecocks in 2017 as they failed to make the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the past three seasons. Tanner shot down questions pertaining to Holbrook, the conversations the longtime friends and coaches shared in recent days and whether Holbrook was given the option to stay for another year before he resigned. He also dismissed the thought that it is hard to replace a legend, such as he was when he retired from coaching after winning two national titles and playing for another in a three-year span. Instead, Tanner pointed back to coaches who came before him at South Carolina, Bobby Richardson and June Raines, and the overall success and tradition at South Carolina. It’s those facets Tanner had on his mind Wednesday and it’s those things that he will have in mind in the coming days and weeks in the middle of a coaching search. “One thing that is important to me is to visit with a candidate that understands who we are at the university,” Tanner said. “Maybe that’s not easy in a short period of time. But we’ve got a lot of things to be excited about with our baseball program. I think we will have some opportunities. It is an outstanding program. “I’m looking forward as I move tonight and in the next few days in visiting with some people and sharing information about our baseball program. SECCOUNTRY
  20. Chad Holbrook out as South Carolina baseball coach June 07, 2017 South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook resigned on Tuesday after five seasons as the head coach of the Gamecocks. Holbrook met with Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner earlier this week to make his case to return to USC, but after the meetings Holbrook decided to resign. “I want to thank our fans, players, coaching staff and everyone that touched Carolina baseball,” Holbrook said in a statement. “This will always be a special place for me and my family. Wearing that jersey, being a part of two national championships, and meeting so many great people are things I will always treasure. I will always be a Gamecock! At the end of the day, this was the best decision for us,” continued Holbrook. “I wish Coach Tanner and this program I love so much nothing but the best. Forever to Thee!” Tanner will address the future of the baseball program in a news conference at Founders Park on Wednesday at a time to be announced. “We thank Coach Holbrook for his dedication and commitment to the program and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Tanner said in a news release. “He and his family were part of some great memories at South Carolina and we will miss them.” USC missed the postseason this year for the second time in three seasons after making it 15 consecutive years from 2000-2014. Holbrook finishes his time at USC with a record of 200-106, including an 81-67 mark in SEC play. Holbrook was an assistant coach under Ray Tanner for USC’s back-to-back national titles in 2010 and 2011 and was also an assistant when the Gamecocks returned to the national championship series in 2012. But he was unable to enjoy that success as a head coach. In his first season in charge of the program, South Carolina lost to North Carolina in a Super Regional in Chapel Hill. The following season the Gamecocks did not get out of the Columbia Regional, falling at home to Maryland. The loss marked the first time USC did not advance from a home regional since 1976. Carolina was 16-0 in the postseason at Founders Park before failing to make it out of the regional in 2014. The Gamecocks then missed the NCAA tournament entirely in 2015 before bouncing back last season and reaching and hosting a super regional, but Oklahoma State swept Carolina to keep Holbrook from reaching Omaha as a head coach. This season was supposed to be South Carolina’s best chance under Holbrook for a deep postseason run with proven veteran pitchers Clarke Schmidt, Wil Crowe and Adam Hill in the starting rotation and an All-American closer in Tyler Johnson to go along with setup guys Josh Reagan and Reed Scott. But the Gamecocks were never able to put it together, dropping their final eight SEC series and falling from preseason top five to out of the NCAA tournament. THE STATE
  21. Holbrook believes 2017 recruiting class can get USC back on track June 04, 2017 After South Carolina missed the NCAA tournament in 2015, a top-10 recruiting class helped the Gamecocks reach a Super Regional the following year. With USC missing out on the postseason again in 2017, Gamecocks coach Chad Holbrook said another group of talented newcomers can help the Gamecocks have another quick turnaround and reach the postseason and the College World Series next season. South Carolina’s class is ranked No. 10 by Perfect Game and will be viewed as a success, as long as the Gamecocks don’t lose too many players to the MLB draft later this month. “We’ve got an incredible recruiting class coming in next year,” Holbrook said. “Some of the recruits we have coming in are top 100 kids in the country and are champing at the bit to get in the mix and help the Gamecocks get back in the top 10 and have an opportunity to go to the College World Series.” One of the headliners of the class is outfielder Kyle Jacobsen. The Georgia native is considered to be one of the top 100 high school prospects in the country, and will have to choose between USC or beginning his professional baseball career immediately. Catcher Luis Campusano, of Georgia, is also a highly rated prospect who could be drafted high enough to skip college, as could pitchers Logan Chapman of Easley, Ridge Chapman of Spartanburg Methodist College, Corey Stone of Mid-Carolina and Carmen Mlodzinski of Hilton Head. Logan Chapman said his plan is to enroll at USC. “Some of those guys are going to have an opportunity to play pro baseball and we’re doing our part right now to make sure they know and realize how special their experience will be here so that we’ll be able to put one of the best teams in college baseball on the field next year,” Holbrook said. The Gamecocks should return the majority of their starting nine for 2018, but finding the pitching depth to replace two weekend starters and the top four bullpen arms will be tough. Logan Chapman, Ridge Chapman and Stone could compete for a weekend starter or midweek starter role, while Mlodzinski, Shane Roberts, and Jack Stamler should, at a minimum, provide bullpen depth. “We’re totally excited about the pitchers we have returning and the pitchers we have coming in. We have Gatorade Players of the Year coming in. We have some Junior College All-American types coming in. We have a number of arms coming in,” Holbrook said. “I think I got that same question in 2015 after we lost some guys and people didn’t know who Clarke Schmidt was and who Braden Webb was and who Adam Hill was. We’ve got some of those guys waiting in the wings to show up here and show that they are pretty darn good. To be honest with you, I’m extremely excited about our pitching staff next year, even though we lost a number of them.” THE STATE
  22. Ray Tanner promises quick decision on Holbrook’s fate June 02, 2017 MIRAMAR BEACH, FLA. - Ray Tanner’s decision about what to do with South Carolina’s baseball program is “not going to be a long, drawn out situation,” he told The State in an exclusive interview Friday. “I am undergoing an extensive assessment of our baseball program and in the near future I will share that,” Tanner said on the final day of the SEC’s spring meetings. He declined to say if announcement about head coach Chad Holbrook’s future will come next week, though. The Gamecocks (35-25, 13-17 SEC) missed the NCAA Tournament for the second time in Holbrook’s last three seasons as head coach. “I don’t want to pinpoint a day,” he said. “I have some more work that I want to do and some more research that is necessary in my eyes.” Tanner, the school’s former baseball coach, hired Holbrook to be his top assistant and then promoted him to head coach. “Anytime as an athletics director, anytime you are involved in a process that there is a potential decision looming, you would rather it not be that way, but it’s the reality of being an athletics director,” Tanner said. “I understand that. I don’t look at this as being tough on me. This is a component of the job. It’s tough on everybody when you’re in these situations.” One thing Tanner won’t do is ask Holbrook, or any other head coach, to make changes to his coaching staff or program in order to save his own job. “I feel very strongly about that,” he said. “The head coach decides what is best within the program. I know there have been circumstances where athletic directors would say, ‘You’ve got to make some changes on your staff.’ That doesn’t fit for me. The coach should know whether or not changes need to be made on their staff. It doesn’t need to come from an athletics director.” THE STATE
  23. South Carolina’s Ray Tanner: ‘No decisions’ made yet on baseball coach Chad Holbrook May 31, 2017 DESTIN, Fla. — South Carolina baseball coach Chad Holbrook’s status will apparently remain in limbo at least a few more days. Athletics director Ray Tanner, here attending SEC meetings, said Wednesday afternoon that he will be meeting with Holbrook in the coming days. Tanner was asked if a decision has been made on whether to retain Holbrook. “No. No decisions have been made,” Tanner said. South Carolina missed the NCAA tournament this year after going 35-25. Holbrook has been the head coach for five years, after succeeding Tanner, who coached the Gamecocks to consecutive national championships. “As I always do at the end of the year, I meet with the coaches and have a formal evaluation period,” Tanner said. “That will take place in the near future.”
  24. Holbrook, Tanner to meet about future May 30, 2017 South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook expects to meet with athletics director Ray Tanner to discuss the future of the baseball program “when the time is right.” “I’ll do what he asks me to do, and I’ll love that guy until the day I die,” Holbrook said Tuesday, a day after the Gamecocks learned they would not be a part of the 2017 NCAA tournament. Holbrook said he met with his team Tuesday. Among the topics: “Making progress and making plans to make sure that this doesn't happen again in 2018.” USC was a bubble team entering Monday’s NCAA selection due to a 13-17 SEC record, a No. 32 RPI and a No. 10 strength of schedule. Losing eight consecutive series to close the year ultimately cost South Carolina. The Gamecocks finished the season 35-25. Holbrook said he and Tanner have not discussed yet whether Holbrook will return for a sixth season as USC’s coach. “We’ll have that conversation in a short period of time when we meet and talk about the year,” Holbrook said. Tanner is in Destin, Fla., this week for the SEC’s spring meetings.
  25. This time it’s personal: Tanner has tough decision to make on Holbrook May 30, 2017 Let’s be honest. Most days South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner’s job is a gravy train with biscuit wheels. He goes to work in a gleaming new building, from which he can survey more gleaming new buildings. He heads an organization that makes almost more money than an SEC football coach can spend. He works with people who are pleasant, dedicated and diligent. He is paid handsomely to attend the events that Gamecocks fans pay handsomely themselves to see. His job is what many people dream their retirement might be for most weeks of the year. This is not one of those weeks, though. Soon, Tanner must make a difficult decision. South Carolina’s baseball program is on shaky soil. The Gamecocks entered the SEC Tournament as the 11th seed in a 12-team field after finishing 13-17 in SEC regular season games. They exited the tournament Saturday, falling 11-0 to LSU in the semifinals to go 3-2 in the tournament. They did surprise some by winning games against Vanderbilt, Missouri and Kentucky after an earlier loss to Kentucky. After starting the year ranked in the preseason top five nationally, they finished 35-25 overall and were left out of the NCAA Tournament. It is the second time in three years that coach Chad Holbrook’s team failed to make the national postseason. For a program that measures itself by College World Series appearances and results, not making the 64-team field is unacceptable. So Tanner has to decide whether he is going to make what should be the toughest call any athletics director has to make – firing a coach. It should always be a difficult decision considering all the lives affected, but it’s especially tough for Tanner. He spent 16 years on that same dugout step (metaphorically at least) that Holbrook stands on now. He coached the Gamecocks to back-to-back national titles in the sport before handing over the reins to Holbrook. And that’s not the hardest part for Tanner. The hard part is his relationship with Holbrook. He hired him in 2009 to be his top assistant coach. He immediately promoted him to the job of head coach when he became athletics director in 2012. He knows his family. He knows all the repercussions and the people his decision would affect. It is a gut-wrenching and important personal decision, but, let’s be honest again, it’s not an important professional decision – at least not in the sense that it will affect Tanner’s ability to thrive or wilt in his profession. If Tanner keeps Holbrook, there will be grumbling. If the Gamecocks don’t mount a remarkable bounceback next season, which seems a tall task considering all that will have to be replaced from this team, fans will say, “I told you so.” If Tanner fires Holbrook, fans will nod sagely and say, “He made the right decision,” and then be very excited for a while about who the new coach will be. And then do you know what will happen? Then everyone will forget about it because it will be August again and that means football season. Tanner can fire Holbrook, keep Holbrook, do whatever he wants with Holbrook, and it won’t affect his job status. SEC athletic directors don’t get fired because of what the baseball program does. They rise and fall with their football coaches. That means that no matter how much closer personally Tanner might be with Holbrook, he is tied professionally to football coach Will Muschamp. The success of the baseball program has been a wonderful shot of self-esteem for the South Carolina fan base. It has provided some of the most exhilarating moments in the school’s athletics history, and it has served as a significant inspiration for some of the school’s other sports teams, including football. What it does not have the power to do is supplant football as the “one thing Ray Tanner must get right to keep his job.” Tanner’s position this week is not enviable, but his position into the future also is neither weakened nor strengthened no matter what decision he makes. THE STATE
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