Chad Holbrook was on the verge of becoming the College of Charleston’s new head baseball coach. Now it appears the Cougars’ search will continue.
The former South Carolina head coach, who was in negotiations to take the Charleston job as recently as Tuesday, now appears no longer in the running, sources confirmed Wednesday to The Post and Courier. The Cougars’ search may now turn to North Carolina State pitching coach Scott Foxhall, part of three straight NCAA Tournament trips in the same role with the College.
Holbrook was offered the job and accepted, a source confirmed. But a drumbeat of support for Foxhall from influential former players evidently led decision-makers to have second thoughts. New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, a former star with the Cougars who signed a $52 million contract in 2014, called C of C president Glenn McConnell to lobby on Foxhall’s behalf, multiple sources confirmed.
Foxhall’s candidacy was bolstered by a lobbying movement of at least 60 former Cougars players, among them current St. Louis Cardinals first base coach Oliver Marmol, a source confirmed. And some College of Charleston board members who know Foxhall from his stints at the College as a player and a coach also supported him over Holbrook, The Post and Courier has learned.
Holbrook, who resigned from South Carolina on June 6, was the primary target of first-year athletic director Matt Roberts, friendly with Holbrook from their days together at North Carolina. Indications are that Roberts and Holbrook were well into negotiations when talks suddenly went south.
Sources indicate that Holbrook and the College were close to terms as of Tuesday morning, to the point where the former Gamecocks skipper was told to inform his family they were moving to Charleston. But the deal fell apart later in the day.
Foxhall, who worked under former Charleston head coach John Pawlowski, was part of the most sustained run of baseball success ever at the College, which made three straight NCAA regionals and one Super Regional from 2004-06. He left with Pawlowski for Auburn, and has been at N.C. State since 2014. Foxhall pitched at the College from 1992-94, and remains among the program leaders in strikeouts and innings pitched.
Charleston is searching for a successor to Matt Heath, who was fired after two seasons with a 59-57-1 record. In June, the school launched an investigation into allegations of abusive behavior toward players by Heath, who has denied any wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit against the school last week for wrongful termination.
Holbrook, who won 65 percent of his games and made the NCAAs three times in five seasons at South Carolina, resigned after missing the postseason for the second time in three years. The former Gamecocks skipper had also been a candidate for recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt.