College of Charleston hires former Gamecocks baseball coach Chad Holbrook – Charleston Post Courier
It was hardly the smoothest of transitions, but former South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook ended up as College of Charleston’s baseball coach after all.
After a couple of tumultuous days, College of Charleston and Holbrook came to an agreement Thursday morning to bring the former Gamecocks skipper to the Lowcountry.
Holbrook, 46, will officially be introduced during a press conference Friday morning at Randolph Hall beginning at 10 a.m. The press conference is open to the public.
The deal capped a chaotic 48 hours for Holbrook and the school that saw more plot twists and intrigue than a Jason Bourne film. In the span of two days, Holbrook was offered the job on two different occasions before settling on an agreement Thursday morning.
“I want to coach at College of Charleston for a long time, go to a bunch of NCAA regionals and retire here,” Holbrook said. “I want this to be my last job.”
The drama began Tuesday when several sources confirmed that Holbrook had been offered the position by the school’s athletic director Matt Roberts. Holbrook accepted the offer only to have College of Charleston president Glenn McConnell veto the deal after an avalanche of support from former players for former Cougars pitching coach Scott Foxhall, now in the same position at North Carolina State.
The charge was led by New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, who personally contacted McConnell on Foxhall’s behalf. Foxhall spent nearly two decades at the College, first as a player, and later an assistant coach under former Charleston head coaches Ralph Ciabattari and John Pawlowski
By Wednesday morning, it appeared Foxhall was the prime candidate. But Holbrook reemerged as a candidate later Wednesday when McConnell had a change of heart.
“Chad Holbrook is a great addition to the College,” McConnell said. “Coach Holbrook brings a wealth of experience and an incredible résumé of success. I know he will do big things on the diamond. Chad Holbrook will be a great fit on our campus – a premier coach for a premier program.”
Holbrook had been the first choice of Roberts since Matt Heath was fired on June 30.
“It is a tribute to the tremendous heritage and tradition created by our incredible baseball alumni that our program can attract a coach with the talent, experience and national reputation of Chad Holbrook,” Roberts said in a prepared statement. “It’s a great day to be a Cougar.”
Roberts and Holbrook have a long-standing friendship from their days together with the baseball program at North Carolina in the mid-1990s. Holbrook was one of three candidates to interview for the job, along with Foxhall and Clemson assistant Bradley LeCroy.
Holbrook will have to mend some fences with some of the former Cougar players, but the former All-ACC hitter is confident he can win over the alumni and fans.
“Winning is the best way to bring everyone together,” Holbrook said.
Former Charleston players who had lobbied for Foxhall were coming to grips Thursday with Holbrook’s hire.
“While I personally disagree with the decision not to hire Scott Foxhall, out of respect for the College, I wish coach Holbrook nothing, but the best as he embarks on the unique opportunity to lead our baseball team forward,” said Brian Plexico, a former Cougars infielder from Summerville who is now director of baseball systems for the Tampa Bay Rays.
One of the biggest issues for Holbrook will be recruiting. Because of his late hiring, Holbrook missed the primary showcase baseball tournaments that took place earlier in the month in Atlanta and Florida.
Former South Carolina pitcher Matt Price, who won two World Series titles with the Gamecocks, while Holbrook was an assistant coach, said one of his greatest strengths as a coach was as a recruiter.
“He’s a big-time recruiter,” Price said. “Coach is going to give everything he’s got to the program. He’s going to get the best nine guys out on the field and go win some ball games.”
Holbrook was fired after five seasons as head coach at South Carolina, where he was 200-106 but missed the NCAA Tournament twice in the last three years. His Gamecocks made three NCAA regional appearances, with two NCAA Super Regionals in 2013 and 2016. Holbrook was an assistant coach when the Gamecocks captured the back-to-back World Series titles in 2010 and 2011.
“I can’t wait to entrench ourselves in one of the most unique communities in the country,” Holbrook said. “I am especially looking forward to meeting our players and the passionate alumni who make Charleston such a special place. Our goal is to create a championship program that excites both our student-athletes and fans alike. That journey starts today.”
Prior to joining the Gamecock program, Holbrook worked for 15 seasons on the North Carolina coaching staff. While at UNC, the Tar Heels made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, including four NCAA Super Regionals and three trips to the College World Series. The 2007 squad also captured an ACC Championship title, the first in Chapel Hill since 1990, when Holbrook was a freshman player.
Holbrook replaces Matt Heath, who compiled a 59-57-1 record in two seasons, and was fired on June 30. In June, the school launched an investigation into allegations of abusive behavior toward players by Heath, who has denied any wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit against the school for wrongful termination.