The Chad Holbrook era is over at South Carolina.
The embattled head baseball coach, facing criticism over his program missing NCAA regionals for the second time in three seasons, has resigned, per a release from the athletic department. A national search for his replacement is expected begin immediately.
Holbrook’s departure ends a nearly decade-long association with the university. He was hired from his alma mater of North Carolina in 2008 as the right hand man to Ray Tanner, where he helped the program reach three College World Series finals in a row - winning twice in 2010 and 2011 and finishing as a runner-up in 2012. When Tanner was hired as Eric Hyman’s replacement at athletic director after the latter departed for Texas A&M in 2012, Holbrook was elevated to the head coaching role.
But a promising start to his career ended with the team falling well short of the high standards set under Tanner. The team did reach its third straight Super Regional in 2013, but fell in regionals in 2014 after a 44-18 season and missed altogether in 2015. After getting back to Super Regionals in 2016, another missed postseason and sub.-500 record - the team’s second in three years - sealed Holbrook’s fate.
Holbrook addressed the decision in a statement released by the university:
I want to thank our fans, players, coaching staff and everyone that touched Carolina baseball...This will always be a special place for me and my family. Wearing that jersey, being a part of two national championships, and meeting so many great people are things I will always treasure. I will always be a Gamecock! At the end of the day, this was the best decision for us...I wish Coach Tanner and this program I love so much nothing but the best. Forever to Thee!
Ray Tanner is now burdened with finding the right person to fill Holbrook’s shoes and get the program back to its lofty status. Will he seek someone with connections to the program or opt to bring in an outsider? Time will tell, but it’s a hire he can’t afford to miss on.
We’ll have coverage before, during and after the decision, so check back often. Meanwhile, Tanner will address the media Wednesday afternoon.