Brian Buscher, a 2003 All-American at South Carolina and former major leaguer with the Minnesota Twins, recently completed his fifth year as volunteer assistant coach and sixth season as a member of the South Carolina baseball staff. Buscher works with the infielders and hitters and is also coordinator of the Chad Holbrook Baseball Camps.
In 2016, Buscher taught and helped the Gamecock hitters improve from the previous year as the squad’s batting average improved to .291, up 34 points from the previous year to go along with a .381 on-base percentage and a .412 slugging mark. Junior outfielder Gene Cone was named first-team All-SEC after leading the team with a .363 average (78-for-215) and an on-base percentage of .474, the best mark in the SEC. Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams was selected in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees with senior infielder Marcus Mooney going in the 10th round to the Atlanta Braves and Gene Cone earning a 10th round selection as well by the New York Mets.
In 2015, Buscher worked with senior first baseman Kyle Martin,who earned first-team All-America honors and led the Gamecocks in all three Triple Crown categories with a .350 average, 14 homers and 56 RBI. Martin earned first-team All-SEC honors as well and was selected in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Junior second baseman Max Schrock also received All-SEC honors and was an 11th round MLB Draft choice by the Washington Nationals.
Buscher helped groom the Gamecock infielders, who were among the best in the nation in 2014 with just 37 errors in 62 games played. Junior infielder Joey Pankake was named to the SEC All-Defensive team after he made his way over to third base in 2014 after two seasons at shortstop. Buscher also helped out a Gamecock offense that ranked among the top four teams in the SEC and hit .281 with a .361 on-base percentage and a .373 slugging mark.
The return of Buscher to campus in the fall of 2012 helped the Gamecocks immediately as South Carolina transitioned Chase Vergason over to third base for the 2013 season. The former big leaguer's experience proved dividends immediately as Vergason gained comfort in his new spot and fielded .936 for the season at the hot corner with just 10 errors in 157 chances. Buscher also contributed to an offense that raised its season batting average 19 batting points to .284 with a .375 on-base percentage and a .419 slugging clip. South Carolina led the SEC and ranked 18th in the nation with 52 homers.
Before returning to campus, Buscher served as head coach at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in the 2011-12 season as well as manager for the 2012 Columbia Blowfish, who won the Coastal Plains League Petit Cup Championship.
Reaching the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, Buscher directed the Blowfish to a pair of sweeps in the first two rounds of the playoffs before coming back from one game down to win the 2012 CPL Petit Cup with consecutive victories on the road. It marked the first title for the Columbia Blowfish in team history.
Prior to his stint at Heathwood Hall and with the Blowfish, Buscher returned to Columbia in 2010 to complete his undergraduate work and earn a bachelor's degree in psychology. As undergraduate student assistant coach his influence on the 2011 Gamecock national championship squad was evident with his work with the corner infielders and on game day as bench coach to Ray Tanner.
Buscher decided to turn to coaching and education after completing a successful eight-year stint in professional baseball highlighted by three years in Major League Baseball with the Twins.
As a player, Buscher was a member of consecutive College World Series teams in 2002 and 2003 for the Gamecocks. Buscher never missed a game in two seasons at Carolina starting 140 of 142 games played at third base. He was a staple in the lineup as a junior on the 2002 SEC championship team that reached the national championship game at the College World Series and he followed that up with an even more successful year in 2003 that saw him earn All-America honors as the Gamecocks made a second straight trip to the CWS. Buscher's .393 batting average (106-for-270) his senior season is the best batting average by a Gamecock player in this century and his 106 hits is tied for the second highest single-season total in school history. He totaled 201 career hits, one of 23 players at Carolina to record 200 or more hits.
His success at Carolina led him to being selected in the third round of the `03 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants. He would spend three seasons in the Giants minor league system before being selected by the Twins in the Rule Five Draft. Buscher made his MLB debut on July 27, 2007 and spent two and a half seasons with the Twins culminating in a first place finish in the American League Central division in 2009.
Buscher and his wife, the former Sarah Simmons, have two daughters, Finley Amelia and Allyn Isabelle and a son, Wriggs Thomas.