Chad Holbrook is in his fourth year as head coach of the South Carolina program and has spent over 20 seasons in college baseball including two national championship staffs with five national championship series appearances, six College World Series trips and 16 NCAA Regionals.
Holbrook was named head baseball coach for the University of South Carolina on July 16, 2012. He was promoted to the top spot by athletics director Ray Tanner after four seasons as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the Gamecocks. Holbrook came to South Carolina in July 2008 as associate head coach. Along with his recruiting coordinator duties, he served as hitting instructor, overseeing the Gamecock offense, including base running and the short game and was the third base coach. He also worked with the outfielders. Holbrook came to the Gamecock program after serving 15 seasons as a member of the University of North Carolina coaching staff. Holbrook was the 2011 ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year after the Gamecocks won a second consecutive national championship.
A tremendous evaluator of talent, Holbrook was named the No. 10 best recruiter in all of college sports by ESPNU & ESPN The Magazine in the publication’s 2011 January edition. The list was put together in conjunction with three-dozen experts who were asked the question: Who are the top 20 recruiters in college sports? Holbrook was the only baseball coach on the list.
Holbrook’s 2015 team was highlighed by first-team All-America first baseman Kyle Martin, who 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. Junior left-handed pitcher Jack Wynkoop would be selected in the sixth round of the MLB Draft as well by the Colorado Rockies after going 8-5 with a 3.27 ERA in 104.1 innings. The 2015 Gamecocks set a school record as well with over 6,000 season tickets sold. Carolina would finish third in the nation in total attendance with 250,057 fans flocking to watch the Gamecocks play at home.
The 2014 team finished 44-18 and finished ranked as high as No. 22 by the USA Today coaches’ poll. South Carolina went 18-12 in the SEC and was one of only two schools in the conference to finish among the top four teams in the league in both 2013 and 2014 and one of four schools in the SEC to win at least 40 games in both 2013 and 2014. South Carolina was also one of only nine schools in the nation to host a NCAA Regional in 2013 and 2014.
Among the highlights in 2014 included a series sweep of instate rival Clemson. Holbrook’s team would claim six SEC series including a pair of wins at eventual national champion Vanderbilt as well as a series victory vs. CWS participant Ole Miss. South Carolina hosted a NCAA Regional for the fifth-straight year marking the Gamecocks as one of only two schools in the nation to claim that distinction. South Carolina set a total attendance record at 305,564 in 2014, the first time South Carolina eclipsed the 300,000-plus mark.
The 2014 Gamecocks led the SEC with a 2.43 earned run average that ranked ninth in the nation. The pitching staff was among the best in the country with 13 shutouts, fifth-highest in the nation, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.03, sixth-best in the country and a 1.12 WHIP that was eighth overall. South Carolina hit .281 as a team with a .361 team on-base percentage and fielded .975 as well.
South Carolina would have seven players selected in the 2014 MLB Draft including five players in the first 11 rounds. Highlighting that group was junior catcher Grayson Greiner, who was a third round pick and the No. 99 overall selection by the Detroit Tigers. Greiner was a second-team All-America honoree by Baseball America and Perfect Game and was named he 2013-14 USC Co-Male Student-Athlete of the Year alongside Gamecock football/basketball standout Bruce Ellington. He would also be a semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award for the top catcher in college baseball and a member of the SEC All-Defensive team. Greiner played in 60 games with 58 starts, hit .311 (66-for-212) with 39 runs scored, 50 RBI, 13 doubles and eight homers, also a .389 on-base percentage and a .486 slugging mark. Greiner hit a team-best .327 (37-for-113) in league games with four homers and 24 RBI vs. SEC teams. Junior left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery was a 4th round selection by the New York Yankees after leading the pitching staff with an 8-5 record and a 3.42 ERA in a team-high 100 innings with 95 strikeouts. Montgomery became the 22nd pitcher in school history to reach the 20-win total as well. Junior infielder Joey Pankake was a seventh round pick by the Tigers. He became the 26th player in school history to tally 200 or more hits with a double in the second inning of the Florida game at the SEC Tournament on May 22. He finished his career with 204 hits in the Garnet & Black. He started 58 games and hit .303 (67-for-221) with a team-high 52 runs scored. Junior outfielder Tanner English went in the 11th round to the Minnesota Twins after manning the center field position the entre year with 62 starts and being named to the SEC All-Defensive team. Joel Seddon also was selected in the 11th round after earning second-team All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association with 14 saves. He was also a second-team All-SEC choice. Junior first baseman Kyle Martin was South Carolina’s best hitter with a .336 average (82-for-244) and would be picked in the 20th round but chose to return to school for the 2015 season. Right-handed pitcher Evan Beal rounded out the group as a 21st round choice by the Royals. A Gamecock newcomer also found success as freshman right-handed pitcher Wil Crowe earned Freshman All-America honors as announced by Collegiate Baseball on Wednesday morning. In his first season, Crowe went 8-3 in 15 starts with a 2.75 ERA in 91.2 innings pitched. Crowe allowed just 32 runs, 28 earned, on 76 hits with 19 walks and 59 strikeouts. Crowe was strong in his last start with the Garnet and Black as he pitched four-hit complete game shutout in a 9-0 win vs. Campbell in the NCAA Regional that earned him All-Tournament Team honors. Crowe earmed SEC Pitcher of the Week and SEC Freshman of the Week also.
The Gamecocks also shined off the field as Greiner continued a streak of a Gamecock making the Capital One Academic All-America teams to four years, following LB Dantzler’s Academic All-America Division I Baseball Player of the Year nod last season and Michael Roth’s two selections to the first team in 2011-12.
Holbrook’s first season as head coach in 2013 saw the Gamecocks compile a 43-20 record and the school’s 11th NCAA Super Regional appearance. Holbrook directed the 2013 squad to a final national ranking of No. 12 in the USA Today Baseball Coaches Poll along with No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game and No. 14 by Baseball America.
Among the 2013 highlights was a series victory against Clemson, four sweeps of SEC teams and six SEC series victories including a pair of wins at LSU, the only team to go into Baton Rouge in 2013 and claim a three-game set. South Carolina hosted a NCAA Regional for the fourth straight year with the Gamecocks going undefeated in three games and continuing a run of 27 straight postseason wins at home including a 16-0 mark at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina ended the 2013 season with a total attendance of 260,605, third highest in the country.
The 2013 team 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. The 2013 pitching staff was among the best in the nation with a 3.02 earned run average to go along with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.3 that ranked third best in the nation. South Carolina pitchers averaged 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings while walking just 2.36 batters per contest.
Among the top players on the 2013 squad was third-team All-America designated hitter LB Dantzler. The senior ranked third in the SEC in homers (15) slugging percentage (.617) and walks (42) as well as fifth in total bases (132) sixth in on-base percentage (.444). Dantzler led Carolina in hitting with a .322 average (69-for-214) and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. Senior left-hander Tyler Webb, earned third-team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and second-team All-SEC honors after anchoring a bullpen with 17 saves. That mark is fifth highest in school history and ranked second in the league and seventh in the nation. Webb struck out 60 batters in 43.0 innings and pitched in 32 games on his way to setting a school record for career appearances with 110 on the mound with the Garnet & Black. Webb was selected in the 10th round by the New York Yankees. Greiner was tabbed second-team All-SEC at catcher as a sophomore and made USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. He hit .298 (61-for-205) with 10 doubles and 38 RBI. Sophomore shortstop Joey Pankake continued his rise with a .311 average (69-for-214) with 11 homers and 42 RBI. Two Gamecock newcomers recruited by Holbrook garnered Freshman All-America honors. Max Schrock started 61 games at second base and hit .282 with six homers and 49 RBI with 36 walks to just 23 strikeouts and was second-team choice by Baseball America, the NCBWA and Perfect Game. Jack Wynkoop went 7-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 64.0 innings pitched on his way to recognition by Collegiate Baseball.
Holbrook’s team succeeded off the field logging its highest cumulative GPA in school history with a 3.201 in the Fall 2012 semester. The Gamecocks maintained a high mark in the Spring of 2013 with a 3.050 GPA. The baseball team had 16 players named to the 2013 SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll. Among those were Dantzler, who was named 2013 CoSIDA Baseball Academic All-American of the Year. Dantzler was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. Senior right-hander Patrick Sullivan was South Carolina’s male nominee for the 2012-13 Brad Davis SEC Community Service Scholarship.
Holbrook is the only head coach in South Carolina history to have led a team to the NCAA Regionals in his first two years as head coach. His overall winning percentage of .696 is the second-highest of any South Carolina coach in his first two seasons at the helm of the program.
Holbrook’s offensive prowess made an immediate impact on the South Carolina baseball program in his first four seasons. His guidance was instrumental in helping the Gamecocks to back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011 at the College World Series as well as a national runner-up finish in 2012.
Holbrook helped in the development of two-time All-America Christian Walker, who led the Gamecocks in all three Triple Crown categories in 2011 and 2012. He finished 2012 hitting .321 (77-for-240) with 11 homers and 55 RBI as well as a .450 on-base percentage and a .525 slugging percentage. Walker was a fourth round selection by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2012 MLB Draft. Walker was named to the CWS All-Tournament team for a third time. He tied a CWS record for hits also in a career as he notched 28 that put him alongside Dustin Ackley of North Carolina (2007-09), ironically also a player that Holbrook recruited and coached while in Chapel Hill.
Holbrook worked to bridge together a new crop of Gamecocks in the 2012 season as he molded newcomers Tanner English, Grayson Greiner and Joey Pankake into SEC All-Freshman honorees. All three would factor into Carolina’s successful season. The group of newcomers was also rated the top recruiting class in the country in 2011 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 6 in the nation by Baseball America.
Holbrook played a key role in 2011 MLB supplemental draft selection Jackie Bradley Jr.’s Gamecock career. In 2010 Bradley was a All-SEC selection and College World Series Most Outstanding Player. That season, Holbrook helped to oversee an offense that peaked in the postseason with a .309 batting average in 12 postseason contests. Evan Marzilli was the team’s top postseason hitter with a .419 average (18-for-43) with Walker right behind him at .389 (21-for-54) and Bradley hitting .348 with four HR and 17 RBI. Carolina finished the season with a .300 team batting average as well as a .392 on-base percentage. The squad’s 734 hits were second highest in the conference with the team also tallying 298 walks, 14th highest in the country.
In 2009, Holbrook’s first season, the Gamecocks finished with a team batting average of .310 on the year, the highest average in over nine seasons, along with an improved on-base percentage of .394 and a .528 slugging percentage. Carolina was fifth in the nation with 109 home runs. Among the players he tutored that first year were Freshman All-America Jackie Bradley Jr. and All-SEC selections, Justin Dalles, Nick Ebert, Bobby Haney and DeAngelo Mack.
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, the first in Chapel Hill since 1990 when Holbrook was a freshman player.
At UNC, Holbrook mentored several top players including 2008 second-team All-America outfielder Tim Fedroff, third-team All-America first baseman Dustin Ackley and third-team All-America second baseman Kyle Seager. Ackley also earned third-team All-America honors in 2007 and was both Baseball America & Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman of the Year. Ackley was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2009 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners.
Holbrook was instrumental in recruiting current Major League Baseball players Matt Harvey, Chris Iannetta, Andrew Miller, Seager and Ackley to UNC.
As recruiting coordinator for the North Carolina program, Holbrook put together consecutive top 10 recruiting classes that helped the Tar Heels in making three consecutive College World Series appearances. From 2006-2008, North Carolina led the nation in wins with 54 in 2006, 57 in 2007 and 54 in 2008. PG Cross Checker ranked his last UNC recruiting class No. 3 in the nation. Holbrook’s 2007 class ranked fourth in the nation by Baseball America with his 2006 class selected eighth in the country. Baseball America also ranked his 2004 class 11th in the nation with the publication naming the Tar Heels recruiting class of 2003 as the No. 1 group in the country. That 2003 class also tied for first in Collegiate Baseball’s recruiting rankings with South Carolina.
Under Holbrook’s eye, UNC batted .324 as a team in the 2008 season and posted six of the top seven hitting seasons in Tar Heel history. The Tar Heels led the nation in hits in 2007 as well with 820 to finish the year.
The school record for batting average in Chapel Hill was also set under Holbrook’s direction in 2002 when the Tar Heels finished with a .325 mark.
Holbrook served as undergraduate assistant coach in 1994 and was promoted to full-time assistant in the fall of 1994. Holbrook served as assistant coach up to 2007 when he earned a promotion to associate head coach. Holbrook worked one summer in the Cape Cod League as head coach of the Harwich Mariners in 1997 where he led them to the league’s Eastern Division championship.
Before joining the North Carolina staff, Holbrook played for the Tar Heels from 1990-93. He was a second-team All-ACC selection as a senior when he hit .353 at the plate. He also earned all-tournament team honors in 1993 at the NCAA Central I Regional in College Station, Texas, where he hit .565 (13-for-23) with three doubles and two triples in five games. Holbrook sits second all-time on the UNC list for triples with 14 in his career as well as 40 stolen bases. His stolen bases record was broke by Brian Roberts, who played for UNC from 97-98 before transferring to South Carolina.
Holbrook is a 1994 graduate of North Carolina with a degree in physical education. He is the son of Eddie Holbrook, former head men’s basketball coach for Gardner-Webb and Furman.
Holbrook and his wife, the former Jennifer Hilliard, were married in August of 2000. They have two sons, Reece, who was born on May 4, 2002, and Cooper, who was born on June 14, 2004.