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College of Charleston Head Baseball Coach Chad Holbrook Tells 800 Spring Banquet Honorees & Guests At HSSR Spring All-State Banquet That In Team Sports It Is Important To Learn To Be A Part Of The Solution & Not To Become Part of The Problem

College of Charleston Head Baseball Coach Chad Holbrook Tells 800 Spring Banquet Honorees & Guests At HSSR Spring All-State Banquet That In Team Sports It Is Important To Learn To Be A Part Of The Solution & Not To Become Part of The Problem

By Savannah Morris

Special Writer

& Billy Baker


Columbia—In a direct, right at you 16 minute keynote speech to those in attendance at the 31st annual HSSR Spring All-State awards banquet at Seawells on June, 24th College of Charleston head baseball coach Chad Holbrook challenged athletes to always strive to be good teammates, with high character, and to play your sport with dignity and sportsmanship.

“Sometimes in life, whether it is your family, your team, or you as an individual you are going to get punched in the mouth and something bad is going to happen,” said Coach Holbrook. “At that point in time you are going to find out something about your team or yourself. You are either going to become a part of the solution, and help that team get over the hump, or you become part of the problem. Too often in life these days us coaches we witness those who are part of the problem. I am not just talking about the players; there are parents who are part of the problem also.

“But when you get punched in the mouth and adversity strikes and then you see a group of people come together and say, “No, we are going to overcome this, it is one of the most special things you could possibly see.”

Coach Holbrook drew on these comments by talking about an early challenge he had as the head of recruiting at USC when he joined the Gamecocks baseball program for the 2010 season. On the first day of the regular season Holbrook said Gamecock head coach Ray Tanner made an observation to him that the team would not be able to compete for championships until they were able to recruit a better player to hold down second base other than two year performer Scott Wingo who had a .200 batting average during his first two seasons as a Gamecock.

“I went and told Scott this story and reminded him he had barely hit over. 200 for two seasons and that he was batting 9th in the line-up and struggling,” recalled Coach Holbrook. “I told him it was my job to recruit players to South Carolina and that I had been told to go recruit another second baseman to replace him.

“Scott could have done one of two things at that time,” said Holbrook. “He could have pouted and said that his coach doesn’t like me and he could have gone the other way.  But being the type kid Scott was he chose to stay and show him (Tanner) he could get better. I can’t tell you how many nights after games at Founders Park, and we played at 7 o’clock and didn’t get done to 10, that when I left around midnight I could hear Scott hitting balls in the cage and that wasn’t just one night either.

“There is no such thing as being half-way in or half-way committed; you are either in or you are out,” said Holbrook. “It’s not just a one week work hard, or a one game work hard situation, but it was every single day. Scott was all in and he was determined and he was out to prove that we were not going to find a second baseman better then him. Well low and behold Scott kept working and working and he is one of the neatest stories. He would become the MVP of the College of World Series and he helped us win two national championships and the second baseman I recruited quickly got moved to another position.

“These stories do happen and when you get to personally observe them it makes the hair on my arms stand up right now,” said Coach Holbrook. “These type stories are special. I tell these young athletes (in banquet room) that you are going to get cold bad news in life, cold bad news by your coach, and you will get news that is not all roses. You can determine which way you are going to go. I hope when those challenges come for you that you will remember a little about Scott Wing and say, you know what, I might be hitting 8th in the line-up when I feel like I deserve to be hitting third but I am not going to be a part of the problem and complain and say my coach doesn’t know what he is doing.”

Coach Holbrook went on to stress that coaches want to win and they are trying to put their best players on the field at all times. “Sports teaches us so much about life and growing up I never dreamed or thought about being able to compete for championships in Omaha, Nebraska. I have been six times now (three with North Carolina and three with South Carolina) and through those triumphs I got to see some incredible things both on and off the field.”

Coach Holbrook said that while at North Carolina he drove 8 hours to see the top hitting prospect from New Jersey who was playing in Townsend, Maryland. The young man played a double header and went 0-8 and Coach Holbrook said that this young man probably doubted he would still be offered after such a poor showing stats wise.

“After the games, on the way to his car with his parents I asked him if I could talk to him and I offered him a scholarship to his dream school because of his hustle, positive attitude and the way he carried himself on the field and at the plate,” said Coach Holbrook. “On a deep fly ball he ran as hard rounding second base hoping the outfielder would drop the ball and on every ball he hit in the infield he gave it a 100 per cent effort running through the first base bag. When he got what you might consider a ball being called a strike he didn’t slam his bat down or talk to the umpire in a negative way. He presented himself like someone you would like to be around on a baseball field. He played the game with a lot of respect for the game so his stats that day were not that important. He actually took water to the umpire between innings on a hot day.”

Coach Holbrook also said that one can’t hide character. “The athletic arena reveals who you are,” he said. “Some days you can have a bad day but you can still play the right way. Some days the ball might not bounce your way but you can still hold your head high and be a good teammate. I can tell you we as coaches want to be around great teammates.” 

In conclusion, Coach Holbrook said, “At practice there are no time-outs, no subs and no excuses. You just have to go all-out until it is over. If you want to wear the uniform bad enough, and if you want to represent something bigger than yourself, you will go as hard as you need to go until the end.

“And remember this: “In the real world it is never over.”     

The annual HSSR Spring All-State banquet recognized the achievements of young athletes throughout South Carolina in the spring sports of baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, golf, soccer and track.

Union County star pitcher Bailey Betenbaugh was awarded the HSSR-SCHSL Co-Miss Softball. “I feel very honored to win this award today,” Betenbaugh said. In the 2019 class, she will be back on the field for next season with the Yellow Jackets, bringing a hardworking and dedicated player to her upcoming team. After graduation, Betenbaugh will further her softball career at South Carolina.

Dorman’s Tanner McCallister left the Banquet with the highly coveted HSSR 2018 Mr. Baseball award. “It feels great, it’s special,” McCallister said. “It’s for my parents who dedicated their lives to baseball. I worked hard to give them back what they gave me, and this is what happened.” A College of Charleston commit, McAlister feels as if he is prepared for the next level. “It’s going to be different, a culture change, different coaching style and environment but I think I will adjust to it fine.”

HSSR-SCISA Class AA all-state baseball honoree Bryce Barrett is a three-time athlete for Robert E. Lee Academy. Committed to North Greenville University for football, Barrett will be taking on a new role as wide receiver with quarter back high school experience. Not so much a hard decision sports wise, Barrett says making the decision for the next step was difficult school wise. “It was hard to find a school that was right for me, but I like the way they do things at North Greenville. It’s a Christian based college and I’m happy to go up there to play another four years of football.”

A rising sophomore at Fort Dorchester, Tyler Christmas was honored with an All-Rookie baseball award. “It’s a huge honor to be here as only a sophomore, I get to represent my school and hopefully in the years to come,” Christmas says. Returning to the Patriots for another season, Christmas plans to bring a dedicated player to his team. “A player that gives it his all, heart and soul out on the field, leave nothing behind.”

Awarded for his shot put and discus, Southside Christian Nigel Jenkins is an offensive guard that has made his way around for multiple college football visits. From The University of South Carolina, Clemson, Auburn, Tulane, South Alabama, Georgia, and more, Jenkins is open minded and undecided about a commitment. While also focusing on his track season, shot put and discus help him with footwork and his balance. “I’m training this summer for football and track,” Jenkins says, “working out and trying to get my PR higher.”

Seneca junior Sariah Stewart was a all-state track honoree. Stewart runs the 800-meter run, 400-meter run, 4x4, and the 4x8 relays. Being the only girl from her high school to qualify for the State Championship in the 800-meter run, Stewart came out number one. “I’ve been to State about four times since seventh grade,” Stewart says. “I have to still try to better my time.” Looking at Clemson, Stewart hopes to one day take her running skills to the next level as a Tiger.

A few members of the head table at the banquet included Clemson bound  Mr. Golf-Zack Gordon-Gaffney along with Boys Lacrosse Player of Year-Riley Seay of  Oceanside Collegiate

The HSSR-SCISA Mr. Track Prescott Jefferson of Ben Lippen was present along with HSSR-SCISA-Miss Track, Maryah Nasir of Heathwood Hall.  The AAAAA Boys Track Athlete of Year, Brandon Hicklin of Spartanburg was on hand along with HSSR-SCHSL AAA Girls Track Coach of Year, Bill Peterman of Waccamaw.

Laurence Manning was represented by  Co HSSR-SCISA AAA baseball Players of the Year,  Taylor Lee and Braydon Osteen.  McCallister of Dorman sat by HSSR-SCHSL AAAAA Baseball Coach of the Year Jack Jolly also of Dorman

From the soccer ranks 9 times Girl’s Soccer Coach of the Year Dave Snyder was present from Bishop England along with the HSSR-SCHSL-AAA Girls Soccer Player of the Year Kessey Bradshaw of Bishop England.  The  HSSR-SCISA Miss Soccer Player of the Year was Grace Powell of Pinewood Prep.

The sport of softball was well represented at the head table. HSSR- Co Statewide Softball-Player of the Year Andrea Lyon of White Knoll along with HSSR-SCHSL Co-Miss Softball Bailey Betenbaugh of Union County and HSSR-SCHSL and Co-Miss Softball-Chloe Thomas of Lewisville were all on hand.   

HSSR-SCISA Miss Softball, Bailee Elvington of Pee Dee Academy was present as was the HSSR-SCHSL Class A Softball Player of Year, Gracen Watts of East Clarendon. HSSR-SCHSL Co-Statewide Softball Player of the year Karly Heath of North Augusta was represented at the head table by her mother.

Among softball coaches at the head table were HSSR-SCHSL AAAAA Girls Softball Coach of the year April Farr of White Knoll along with HSSR-SCHSL Statewide Softball Coach of the Year Jerry Thomas of  Lewisville. The HSSR-SCISA Statewide Softball Coach of the Year Bill Rogers of Pee Dee Academy was on hand along with retiring HSSR-SCHSL Class A Coach of the year Lisa Ard of East Clarendon.

In addition, Marty Kinard, the head Softball Coach at Claflin University was on hand to help present the softball awards.   

© 2017 High School Sports Report

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