Gary Gilmore will remain as Coastal Carolina University's head baseball coach, the school announced tonight.
Gilmore, who completed his 13th season with the Chanticleers, has seen the program continually rise in the world of college baseball to a national power. Seven NCAA berths, eight 40+ win seasons in the last 10 years, 11-straight winning seasons, numerous draft picks with more to come and a first trip to the NCAA Super Regionals are just part of the exciting things going on in Coastal Carolina baseball.
Coastal hosted and won the NCAA Conway Regional in 2008, advancing to the NCAA Cary Super Regional, a first in school history. Gilmore was named the Big South Coach of the Year for the fifth time and won both the regular-season and tournament championships. Dock Doyle was named the Big South Player of the Year and earned Second Team All-American honors by Collegiate Baseball. Doyle also is a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award. Scott Woodward earned Freshman of the Year honors while 11 different Chanticleers earned All-Big South accolades. Coastal defeated Columbia, Alabama and East Carolina to earn the program’s first berth in a Super Regional. Tommy Baldridge and David Anderson were named Co-Most Valuable Player’s and the Chants had six selected to the All-Conway Regional Tournament Team. Coastal set the Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field attendance record with 2,320 fans at the championship game against East Carolina. Gilmore earned his 500th win at Coastal on May 17 in an 18-8 win over Radford and now has 507 wins at his alma mater. Coastal had five players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including fifth-round picks in Doyle and Pete Andrelczyk.
Coastal enjoyed national success in 2007, as the Chanticleers hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time in school history and won 50 games for the second time in three seasons. Coastal won both the Big South Conference regular-season and tournament titles for the second time in six years, going 4-0 in the BSC Tournament and defeating Liberty 6-5 in the championship game. The Chanticleers had a 16-game winning streak in the middle of the season and the 13 losses were the fewest in Gilmore’s 12 seasons in Conway. Gilmore was named the Midseason Coach of the Year by Baseball America and earned his fourth Big South Coach of the Year honor. He earned his 700th career win May 12 against UNC Asheville. Coastal hosted the 2007 Myrtle Beach Regional and its game against Clemson brought out 6,231 fans, a BB&T Coastal Field record. Bobby Gagg and David Sappelt earned All-America honors by Collegiate Baseball, while Sappelt was the Big South Player of the Year, Gagg was the Pitcher of the Year and Tommy Baldridge was the BSC Tournament Most Valuable Player. CCU ended the season ranked 20th by Baseball America. Gilmore also received a new contract in late June, keeping him as the head coach at CCU through at least 2015, including performance incentives and raises through the term of the contract. It will also provide increases in the Coastal baseball operating budget during that time.
Coastal ended the 2006 season with a 30-27 overall record, finishing third in the Big South Conference. The Chanticleers were one of the hottest teams in the League the latter half of the season, sweeping conference foes Radford and UNC Asheville as well as defeating East Carolina, the College of Charleston and Wake Forest in mid-week games. Gilmore won his 400th game at CCU May 12 against Radford and won 30 games for the ninth time in 11 seasons as head coach of CCU.
Coastal’s continual rise to a national power was never as evident as in 2005, where the Chants earned a number-one seed to the NCAA Tempe Regional, won 50 games (becoming the first Big South team in history to accomplish both feats), had six players go in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and was 23rd in the final rankings by Baseball America. The Chanticleers went to the championship game of the regional, defeating UNLV twice, but falling to host Arizona State in the final. Gilmore received Big South Coach of the Year honors, the third time he has received that honor, and the American Baseball Coaches Association Atlantic Region Division I Coach of the Year in 2005. Coastal won its third Big South regular-season title under Gilmore after compiling a remarkable 21-3 conference record in the always-competitive league. Gilmore also coached Mike Costanzo, who earned First Team All-America honors by three organizations, earned his second consecutive Big South Player of the Year award and was named to the All-Big South First Team as both a first baseman and a pitcher, the first Big South player to ever earn multiple first-team honors. Gilmore coached six All-Big South honorees in 2005, including four First Team members. He also won his 600th career game March 25 in a win over VMI. For his efforts, Gilmore was rewarded with a four-year contract in July of 2005 that featured incentive plans for himself and all the assistant coaches.
In his 19 seasons as a college head coach, Gilmore’s teams have averaged over 39 wins a year, including 12 40-plus win seasons. In his 13 years at Coastal, Gilmore’s ball clubs have finished in the top four of the Big South Conference standings 12 times, including regular season titles in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2008. Coastal also was one of only seven schools in Division I to win 40+ games from 2001-05. He has coached 62 All-Big South Conference players and six Big South Players of the Year, including Dock Doyle in 2008. Ryan McGraw also broke the NCAA single-season stolen base mark with 63 in 2002.
Gilmore and the Chanticleers battled through injuries and adversity during the 2004 season. The Chants were underdogs heading into the Big South Tournament, but for the fourth straight season, Coastal won the Big South Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Regionals. Gilmore coached the Big South Player of the Year in Mike Costanzo and had four All-Big South members and two Major League Baseball Draft selections.
Gilmore had a milestone 2003 season, starting with his 500th career win Feb. 21, against Delaware. He then saw the Chants win their third straight Big South Tournament Championship and earn its third straight berth to the NCAA Regionals in Lincoln, Neb. Coastal won 46 games in 2003, then the most by a Chanticleer squad under Coach Gilmore. Ryan McGraw earned All-BSC First Team honors, while six Chants were selected to the second team. Gilmore also saw Justin Sturge and Brandon Powell enter the world of professional baseball.
In 2002, Coastal posted 44 wins, fifth most in school history and the most since 1983. The Chants also captured both the Big South regular season and tournament crowns for the second consecutive year and appeared in the NCAA Regional, falling to Georgia in the final game. The 2002 squad featured seven all-conference performers, including five first-team members and the Player of the Year in Justin Owens. Owens was also named as the 2001-02 Bagwell Winner, denoting him as the Big South Male Athlete of the Year.
In 2001, the Chants posted a 42-20 record, won their first Big South Championship since 1992, and came within a single out of advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals, where they would have played Florida State with a College World Series berth on the line. The team that year posted wins over nationally-ranked foes East Carolina, Clemson and Georgia Tech. He also had six players make All-Big South Conference Teams and catcher Randy McGarvey, Jr., was named the Big South Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Gilmore took the reins in a rather precarious position in 1996. The Chants were coming off a 17-37 season, their first losing season in 18 years, and had little in the way of returning talent, especially on the mound. Coastal finished a respectable 24-29 in his first season, and 23-31 in his second. By 1998 though, his recruits, especially the pitchers, began to step up, and Coastal’s winning ways returned. His 1999 squad posted 43 wins and found themselves nationally ranked towards the end of the season, earning Gilmore Big South Coach of the Year honors.
“As long as your philosophy is sound, then you need to stick with it and be patient,” Gilmore said. “Everybody thought we were crazy because we wanted to bring pitching to Coastal Carolina. But we were determined to build this program the right way. We start with pitching and defense, and loaded the lineup with great athletes. The program has been pointed in the right direction. We’ve been preaching, telling them what winning is about, and now they have a taste for it. Guys leave the program, but when the new kids come in they pick up on the pride and enthusiasm that we have. They pick up on the goals that we have set, and the direction we are moving, and the winning attitude begins to feed off of itself.”
Along with the improvements Gilmore has overseen on the field, he is also a main contributor to the improvements off the field. The Chanticleers have had a team grade-point-average over 3.0 in each of the last four seasons, including the fall of 2007. What’s more, Coastal’s facilities have made tremendous strides under Coach Gilmore, with renovations to the stadium that took place which have included a new fence, new scoreboard, new sound system and new infield. New lights were installed in 2005 at Charles Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field, while new turf in foul territory as well as chairback seating and an upgrade of the lockerroom will take place for 2008.
Gilmore began his baseball career as a Chanticleer, playing center field for Coastal during the 1979 and 1980 seasons. The speedy leadoff hitter hit .353 with 69 steals in 90 games, before going to play in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Following his playing days, he worked as a scout for the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians before becoming a coach at USC-Aiken, where he eventually took over the top spot in 1990.
Gilmore spent six seasons at USC-Aiken, where he compiled a 253-102 record. Gilmore posted 40-win seasons in his first four years at USC-A, including a school-record 48 wins in 1991. In 1993, Gilmore was named Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year by his peers. During his stint at USC-Aiken, Gilmore coached nine all-conference performers and one conference player of the year in Adam Riggs.
In all, Coach Gilmore has been named the Regional Coach of the Year five times, conference Coach of the Year four times and a National Coach of the Year Finalist twice. Over 60 of his players have gone on to sign professional contracts, with seven making it to the major leagues.
“Coastal Carolina is a special place for me,” Gilmore concluded. “We’re fortunate to have things pretty good down here with the location and the weather, but it’s the people that make this place great. >From the players and coaches and the athletic department, to the professors, students and staff, everybody just comes together to form a family. There are a lot of other schools out there that are bigger, and may have more money to throw around, but they can’t match the intangibles that we have here. My heart is in this program because I sweated on the same exact field that today’s kids are sweating on for me.”
Gilmore and his wife Cathy have a son, Chance (21), who is a redshirt sophomore outfielder at Coastal Carolina, and a daughter Samantha (19).
COACH GILMORE’S CAREER RECORD
Year School Record Pct. Post-Season
1990 USC Aiken 45-10 .818 --------
1991 USC Aiken 48-13 .787 --------
1992 USC Aiken 45-15 .750 NCAA
1993 USC Aiken 46-18 .719 NCAA-CWS
1994 USC Aiken 35-22 .614 --------
1995 USC Aiken 34-24 .586 --------
1996 Coastal Carolina 24-29 .453 --------
1997 Coastal Carolina 23-31 .426 --------
1998 Coastal Carolina 31-29 .517 --------
1999 Coastal Carolina $43-15 .741 --------
2000 Coastal Carolina 34-24 .586 --------
2001 Coastal Carolina *42-20 .677 NCAA
2002 Coastal Carolina *$44-19 .698 NCAA
2003 Coastal Carolina *46-17 .730 NCAA
2004 Coastal Carolina *40-23 .635 NCAA
2005 Coastal Carolina $50-16 .757 NCAA
2006 Coastal Carolina 30-27 .526 --------
2007 Coastal Carolina *$50-13 .794 NCAA
2008 Coastal Carolina *$50-14 .781 NCAA
*Big South Tournament Champion
$ Big South Regular-Season Champion
19 Years Overall 760-379 .667
13 Years at Coastal 507-277 .647
6 Years at USC Aiken 253-102 .713