July 16, 2012
Director of Athletics Ray Tanner
More than 40 years ago the Yankee great Bobby Richardson took over Carolina baseball and immediately gave it tremendous credibility and trips to the College World Series. A few years later, June Raines took over the program for a lengthy time and continued to move the program forward. The CWS was part of his resume. We're fortunate today in our university to be competing for championships in baseball, playing in the best facility in the country in front of the greatest fans in the nation. We have great support from our university, administration and our media friends. The time is right now for me to take off the uniform and let the next person build on what Coach Richardson and Coach Raines have started. I realize that as Athletics Director there will be days that are challenging and tough decision will have to be made. Today is not one of those days. Our new head baseball coach is a man of tremendous character and experience. He will successfully lead our Gamecocks for years to come. Having been in the game for more than 30 years, I feel like I know who the good coaches are and the ones that will make a difference.
This job as South Carolina's head baseball coach could have attracted many across the country, but the best man for this job is already here. He's a great recruiter and evaluator of talent. He will be a great ambassador for the University of South Carolina.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
I want to thank the Board of Trustees, President Pastides and Coach Tanner. I've had the opportunity to have serious conversations with the president of our university over the last couple of years. His wisdom and guidance have been beneficial to me. I trusted his words; I trusted his vision. He was right on with everything he's said. It's so special to have a president that cares about the athletics department and our baseball program.
Coach Tanner, you've been incredible. You've given me an incredible opportunity. The trust you've shown in me is tough for me to explain. I know that you always told me that I'm not short on confidence, but you are the one that gave me the confidence to tackle this challenge ahead. In 1996, I snuck into the pres conference as Coach Tanner was introduced as the new South Carolina coach. I talked my way in and told them I was a member of the media. At that press conference, I handed him a note and I told him it was my hope and dream that I would come work for you. He kept that note and remembered what I said in that note, and four years ago he gave me the opportunity to work on his staff. I've learned so much from him. He's given me the blueprint on how to run a college baseball program. Our staff will continue to use that blueprint that Coach Tanner has given to me step by step.
I always want to thank our players, coaching staff and support staff. Kyle Lipsey, Drew Meyer, Kristi Davis, Dr. Casper and Steve Bondurant who has guided our guys to consistent semesters of academic GPA's over 3.0. We're excited that this staff will remain intact. It's important to thank Mike Roberts for giving me the opportunity to play at North Carolina, and Mike Fox for giving me the opportunity to coach at my alma mater. Also Roy Williams. Our family has been through difficult times, and Coach Williams was always there for us. We'll always be grateful to him. I also want to thank my dad. I grew up in a gym watching his teams practice basketball at Gardner-Webb and Furman. I knew then that I wanted to coach and recruit because I wanted to be like my dad.
I'm not up here to try and replace Ray. I can't; no one can. I can only be the best Chad Holbrook that I can be. When we have to make difficult decisions in a game, I'll have a bracelet and on it will have initials that say WWRD - What Would Ray Do. If I follow the decisions that he's made and shown me, I think this baseball program will be just fine. Our staff will continue to embrace the traditions established by Ray Tanner and others. We won't sit back on our laurels or our past.
We have incredible fan support. That makes it so special to coach and recruit here. Every time we take the field at Carolina Stadium, to see the passion, enthusiasm and dedication of our fans, creates and advantage for our team and program. I can't wait to take the field at Carolina Stadium as your head baseball coach in front of another packed house.
Jerry Meyers will assume the role as associate head baseball coach. He is one of the best if not the best pitching coach in the country. He's been a head coach at the NCAA Division 1 level. I'm also excited about Sammy Esposito, one of the best young coaches in the game. He teaches me more than I teach him.
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