Assistant hires and words said behind closed doors were on the agenda Wednesday as USC athletics director Ray Tanner addressed the media at Founders Park a day following head baseball coach Chad Holbrook’s resignation.
According to the Tuesday press release announcing Holbrook's resignation, Tanner met with the five-year head coach "several" times to assess the future of Gamecock baseball before a final decision was made. A former USC baseball coach himself, Tanner offered no clues Wednesday as to who will be sought to lead the program in 2018.
Following the opening statement in which Tanner commended Holbrook for “tremendous integrity,” associate head coach Jerry Meyers was named as interim head coach. Meyers has been with the program since 1997 except for a stint as head coach at Old Dominion from 2005 to 2010.
On Holbrook’s future, Tanner said he is confident the outgoing head coach will land on his feet.
“I have the utmost respect for who he is and what he’s done, and I don’t have any doubt that he’ll be successful moving forward,” Tanner said.
When pressed on whether he went into yesterday’s meetings with Holbrook with an endgame in mind, Tanner pointed to the press release.
“We’re here to talk about the future of the program,” Tanner said. “I think last night it was well stated in the release that he made a decision to resign.”
No names of candidates were mentioned Wednesday, but Tanner stated he is looking for a coach who will properly "embrace" Carolina baseball and the culture that surrounds it.
“A coach that is much like the ones that have been here in the past,” Tanner said. “Coaches that embrace this tradition, embrace the fan base, embrace the expectations, embrace a wonderful atmosphere here at Founders Park with opportunities galore to compete at a high level.
At Wednesday’s conference, Tanner offered no timeline for naming the new head coach.
On the possibility of an in-house hire, Tanner said Meyers and assistant coach Sammy Esposito are not candidates for the permanent head coach position. However, Tanner said he had not ruled out the possibility of hiring an assistant coach from another school.
“One thing that’s important to me is to visit with a candidate that understands who we are at the university,” Tanner said.