After the departure of coach Stu Lake over the summer, a hole was left in the South Carolina baseball coaching staff. But on Aug. 5, that hole was filled by former South Carolina star baseball player Scott Wingo.
The decision to return home was an easy one for Wingo, who said in his first time speaking to the media since his hiring on Thursday that, "just to get the opportunity to come back to my alma mater wasn't a very tough sell, just because this place is home to me, and obviously I love this place more than anything."
"The culture, since day one I've got here has been awesome," Wingo said. "It's been a really cool experience so far, and you can just tell the guys are anxious and excited and just flat out ready to go to start this fall."
Wingo will serve as the third base coach and assist the team's hitters, infielders and outfielders.
Wingo previously played for three seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization before making a handful of stops on his way back to Columbia.
In 2015, Wingo was a student assistant for the Gamecocks and an assistant coach for the Wilmington Sharks from the Coastal Plain League.
In 2016 and 2017, Wingo was an assistant coach for North Greenville University, was promoted to head coach of the Sharks. Wingo then served as an assistant coach for the baseball team at Jacksonville University for the 2018 season.
Wingo then took a break from coaching. "I got out in 2018 after Jacksonville, and got in — actually moved to Columbia and worked with a good buddy of mine, his staffing firm, and got my real estate license as well," Wingo said.
Six to eight months later, though, Wingo said he got an itch to get back into the coaching world.
"I always knew in the back of my head I wanted to coach," Wingo said. "After that 2018 season, I felt like maybe I needed to just possibly step away for a little bit, to see some other options, and that — I think that six to eight months solidified it for me."
After deciding to continue his coaching career, Wingo took a volunteer assistant coaching job with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, where he's been the past two seasons. Wingo aided in the Fighting Irish's run to the NCAA Super Regional's this past season.
"I've gotten to see some really good coaches," Wingo said about all the coaching staffs he's been a part of, "and hopefully, [I] can take away some bits and pieces of that from them."
Wingo is likely best known for his role in the back-to-back NCAA championships won by the Gamecock baseball teams he played on in 2010 and 2011.
Some older fans will remember the championships vividly, but they aren't the only ones. Wingo said that most of the current players knew who he was, adding it was "a pretty humbling and cool experience."
"It's pretty cool when some of these guys tell me that they went to our parade or just was watching the games," Wingo said, adding that it also "made [him] feel old."
Regardless, Wingo said he's "fired up" and "humbled" to be a part of the team again.
"It's an honor to be able to come here and coach, at your alma mater," Wingo said. "The respect I have for these fans, program, you know they know the game of baseball. They know how to win, they expect to win, and that's something that I got to see my four years here."
Correction (Aug. 26, 2021, at 9:57 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated Scott Wingo played three season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played for the Dodgers organization, or its minor league teams.