**Story by Kyle Heck/photo by Allen Sharpe**
South Carolina is looking for a new baseball coach after the resignation of Chad Holbrook, and there might not be any Athletics Director in the country more qualified to find a replacement than the Gamecocks' Ray Tanner.
A two-time national championship winning coach at South Carolina, Tanner has decades of experience coaching in collegiate baseball. Now, for the first time in his career, he'll be responsible for hiring a new head baseball coach. In the meantime, assistant Jerry Meyers has been named the interim coach.
Tanner held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the future of the South Carolina program, and he hinted at several traits he wants the new coach to possess. Below is a list of important things that Tanner touched on during his press conference that everyone should keep in mind during the search.
– First and foremost, Tanner made clear that he wants the next coach to understand the tradition and expectations at South Carolina. There aren't many places in the country that care as much about baseball as Gamecock fans do, and the next coach has to understand that.
– Tanner mentioned that a plus for a candidate is experience "in this region." However, he said he won't limit himself geographically.
– The new coach doesn't have to be someone who's made several appearances in the College World Series, Tanner says. The AD said that experience is important, but there are a lot of talented head coaches around the country who started out as assistant coaches. Tanner mentioned that both SEC head coach vacancies thus far (Alabama and Tennessee) have been filled by assistant coaches.
– On that same note, Tanner said that none of the current assistants will interview for the head vacancy. It's possible (but unlikely) that an assistant could be retained on the new staff. Tanner will leave all assistant coach hiring decisions to the new head coach.
In regard to the timeline of the search, Tanner said he doesn't have a specific date, but hopes it will be sooner rather than later. He noted that some of the candidates are currently still coaching in the NCAA Tournament. He would like to give the new coach an opportunity to talk to recruits who are thinking about the MLB Draft, which begins next week.
As far as the financial situation, Tanner made it clear that the Gamecocks will be competitive "in the marketplace." He joked that he wished he could've coached during a time period like now where coaches are making over a million per year. In addition, there won't be a search firm hired like there was during the football coaching search. Holbrook was one of the least paid coaches in the SEC, but Tanner said the Gamecocks will move to near the top of the league if they need to.