May 13, 2012
CONWAY - Rain may have cancelled the Coastal Carolina-Winthrop baseball game Sunday, but it could not dampen the enthusiasm and, at times, emotional day for the Chanticleer program.
Set for pregame, two ceremonies to commemorate two special groups were moved to Handley's Pub & Grub in Carolina Forest and a contingent of CCU fans were on hand to send off a great 2012 senior class as well as commemorate what was to be the final game in the present Watson Stadium.
First, head coach Gary Gilmoreand the Voice of the Chanticleers Matt Hogue honored four staff members who will not be back for next season. Gilmore, with contributions from Director of Golf Allen Terrell, honored the retiring Dr. Joe Mazurkiewicz. Mazurkiewicz served as an Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Support Service, working closing with the Chanticleer baseball program in their academic progress.
Gilmore then turned his attention to senior manager Nate Adams, graduating student assistant coach Jerry Oakes and volunteer assistant Chad Oxendine. (Please see PDF for bios of the baseball staff and players).
Gilmore would bring up seniors Daniel Bowman, Tucker Frawley and Rich Wittenand powered his way through giving them their proper due with only a few pauses to collect himself. This senior class has helped Coastal to 178 wins to-date over their four years, ranking third for any four-year period in school history. Last year's senior class had a school-record 202 wins over four years and the 2008 class racked up 180 for the second-most win total. This group has won each of the last three Big South regular-season and tournament championships and helped the Chanticleers to NCAA Regional berths in 2009, `10 and `11. Also, this group helped Coastal earn a number four national seed, hosting the NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional and Super Regional. Rich and Tucker were also members of the 2008 team that swept the Big South regular season and tournament titles, hosted the NCAA Conway Regional and advanced to the program's first NCAA Super Regional.
Bowman will go down as one of the Coastal Carolina and Big South's greatest players. Already a holder of four school records, he is just 11 hits shy of becoming the first player in Big South history to record 200 runs scored, 200 RBI and 300 hits. Frawley is simply one of the top defensive catchers in the country, which landed him on the Johnny Bench Award Watch List, and has managed a pitching staff that leads the NCAA in ERA all while batting .311. Witten has made a name for himself as being one of the clutch performers in CCU history, having a team-high nine game-winning RBI this season.
After the player recognition, commemorative baseballs were given to five former CCU head coaches, including Larry Biddle, Larry Carr, Russ Bergman, John Vrooman and Gary Gilmore. (Former coaches Dan Selwa and Bobby Richardson were unable to attend.) The recognition ended, appropriately, with the crowd paying their respect to former CCU Chancellor Dr. Edward M. Singleton. Dr. Singleton, who also coached the men's basketball and baseball teams, passed away in May 2011, but his involvement with and contributions to the baseball program were so great, a final moment of silence was observed.