In the least shocking news since Ray Tanner was named as the new AD on Friday, former assistant coach Chad Holbrook was announced as the new head baseball coach at South Carolina this morning.
Before I go any further, let me just say that this one of the best pressers I’ve ever seen. Holbrook’s personality is incredible, and I’m thrilled that he’s the guy who’s taking over.
Tanner began by lauding “the new coach’s” lengthy career and accolades, finally telling us what we already knew: Holbrook is our guy.
Holbrook spoke about his passion for recuritng (he’ll still be in charge of that), his dedication to following in Tanner’s footsteps, and what it means to him to be in this position.
“It’s an honor, it’s a thrill, it’s a dream come true,” he said. “I’m excited to be your baseball coach at the University of South Carolina.”
Holbrook got emotional a couple of times, speaking about his family, his past, and the championship years – and players – at USC. He also gave props to both the fans and the people who work behind the scenes for the team.
He has been on the Carolina staff for four years and was responsible for landing the Yardcocks a No. 1 recruiting class (according to Collegiate Baseball) last year. That group included Joey Pankake, Jordan Montgomery, Tanner English, and Grayson Greiner. In 2011, Holbrook was named the 2011 ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year and the No. 10 best recruiter in all of college sports by ESPNU &ESPN The Magazine.
Holbrook said it’s still up in the air as to whether or not he’ll remain at third base. Pitching coach Jerry Meyers will be the associate head coach. Sammy Esposito will work with catchers and middle infielders and become a paid assistant coach. His spot as a volunteer assistant coach will be filled in the fall.
When asked what his plans are for next season and beyond, Coach Holbrook noted that he’s not trying to replace Tanner – because no one could – but that he’ll try “to be the best Chad Holbrook that I can be.” He added that he wants to be in a position with high expectations, and that the team will not rely on their past.
Holbrook said he’d defintely take full advantage of having Tanner “just a phone call away” and called him a “security blanket.” He also said he’ll have something on him at all times in the dugout:
“I’m going to wear a bracelet next year, reading ‘WWRD,’” Holbrook said. “‘What would Ray do?’”