The last time there was an official coaching search concerning USC baseball, it was in 1996 when former athletics director Dr. Mike McGee lured Ray Tanner from Raleigh to Columbia.
Now, more than 20 years later, it's Tanner who is in charge of finding a new baseball coach.
Tanner was at Founders Park Wednesday afternoon to meet the media and discuss the future of Gamecock baseball. He refused to divulge the details of his Tuesday conversations with Holbrook including: 1) whether Holbrook had actually been fired and 2) if Holbrook had the option of staying on at USC.
USC's current AD did mention the role Holbrook played in the Gamecocks winning two consecutive national championships in 2010 and 2011. Tanner brought Holbrook from North Carolina as his lead assistant and the two have become not only colleagues, but friends - making the situation tough on both men.
"I took this job knowing there'd be some tough days," Tanner said.
"Certainly the last few hours have been difficult. But it would be difficult in any circumstances where you have a colleague, a coach in any sport who's no longer with you because it is a lifestyle. You"re a family. You're together a lot. You have a lot of dialog. It's not an easy situation to go through."
Tanner's challenge now is to bring in a coach who will try to do what Holbrook couldn't and that's make it to the College World Series. Holbrook made three NCAA Tournaments in his five years including two Super Regionals. But missing the post-season in two of those five years put the events of this week in motion. During his news conference, Tanner laid out the profile of the next baseball coach at USC.
"A coach that is much like the ones here in the past," he said.
"Coaches that embraced this tradition, embraced our fan base, embrace the expectations, embrace the wonderful atmosphere here at Founders Park with opportunities galore to compete at a high level. You always hear about the cliché of someone who fits. I think that can be used broadly, but someone who understands it. And maybe who has experienced it one way or another, being in this region or in the southeast. That’s not to say we are limited by the geography, but someone who understands what Carolina baseball and the brand is about.”
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