COLUMBIA, SC - South Carolina associate head baseball coach Chad Holbrook has been named the 2011 American Baseball Coaches Association/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year.
Now in his fourth season as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the baseball program, Holbrook serves as hitting instructor, oversees the Gamecock offense, including base running and the short game, and is the third base coach. He also works with the outfielders.
"I am very honored and humbled to receive this award from the ABCA and Baseball America," said Coach Holbrook. "It's an award that I share with Coach Meyers and Coach Esposito because without their hard work we wouldn't have enjoyed the success that we have had. It's a privilege to work for Coach Tanner. As the leader of our program, he makes it fun to come to work every day. He gives all of his assistants an incredible amount of responsibility and wants his assistants and players to receive all the credit. We have great kids to coach. They listen, they are receptive and they understand our team concept. I've been awfully lucky to be in the same dugout with all of our players, they are a special group. I'm fortunate to be a part of a great staff and a great program here at the University of South Carolina."
A tremendous evaluator of talent, Holbrook recently was named the No. 10 best recruiter in all of college sports by ESPNU & ESPN The Magazine in the publication's 2011 January edition. The list was put together in conjunction with three-dozen experts who were asked the question: Who are the top 20 recruiters in college sports? Holbrook is the only baseball coach on the list. This past fall, Collegiate Baseball ranked the South Carolina baseball recruiting class No. 1 in the country as well.
Holbrook's offensive prowess has made an immediate impact on the South Carolina baseball program in his first three seasons. His guidance was instrumental in helping the Gamecocks to back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011 at the College World Series. Holbrook has helped in the development of two-time All-SEC selection Christian Walker, who hit a team-best .358 (97-for-271) along with 10 HR and 62 RBI in 2011. That offensive output helped Walker to earn third-team All-America accolades from Baseball America. Holbrook also helped mentor 2011 All-SEC and College World Series Most Outstanding Player Scott Wingo, who improved his batting average to .338 (81-for-240) in his senior season.
Holbrook also played a key role in 2011 MLB supplemental draft selection Jackie Bradley Jr.'s Gamecock career. In 2010 Bradley was a 2010 All-SEC selection and College World Series Most Outstanding Player. That season, Holbrook helped to oversee an offense that peaked in the postseason with a .309 batting average in 12 postseason contests. Marzilli was the team's top postseason hitter with a .419 average (18-for-43) with Walker right behind him at .389 (21-for-54) and Bradley hitting .348 with four HR and 17 RBI. Carolina finished the season with a .300 team batting average as well as a .392 on-base percentage. The squad's 734 hits were second highest in the conference with the team also tallying 298 walks, 14th highest in the country. In 2009, Holbrook's first season, the Gamecocks finished with a team batting average of .310 on the year, the highest average in the last nine seasons, along with an improved on-base percentage of .394 and a .528 slugging percentage. Carolina was fifth in the nation with 109 home runs. Among the players he tutored that first year were Freshman All-America Jackie Bradley Jr. and 2009 All-SEC selections, Justin Dalles, Nick Ebert, Bobby Haney and DeAngelo Mack.
"We are fortunate to have Coach Holbrook as an integral part of our program," said head coach Ray Tanner. "He is an exceptional coach, recruiter and mentor for our players. The job he has done and continues to do is exemplary. He is one of the top coaches in the country and he is an outstanding ambassador for the University of South Carolina."
Prior to joining the Gamecock program, Holbrook worked for 15 seasons on the North Carolina coaching staff. While at UNC, the Tar Heels made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances including four NCAA Super Regionals and three trips to the College World Series. The 2007 squad also captured an ACC championship, the first in Chapel Hill since 1990 when Holbrook was a freshman player.
At UNC, Holbrook mentored several top players including 2008 second-team All-America outfielder Tim Fedroff, third-team All-America first baseman Dustin Ackley and third-team All-America second baseman Kyle Seager. Ackley also earned third-team All-America honors in 2007 and was both Baseball America & Collegiate Baseball's Freshman of the Year. Ackley was recently drafted No. 2 overall in the 2009 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners.
In addition, Holbrook was instrumental in recruiting current Major League Baseball players Daniel Bard, Chris Iannetta, Andrew Miller and Kyle Snyder to UNC.
As recruiting coordinator for the North Carolina program, Holbrook put together consecutive top 10 recruiting classes seasons that helped the Tar Heels in making three consecutive College World Series appearances. From 2006-2008, North Carolina led the nation in wins with 54 in 2006, 57 in 2007 and 54 in 2008. PG Cross Checker ranked his last UNC recruiting class No. 3 in the nation. Holbrook's 2007 class ranked fourth in the nation by Baseball America with his 2006 class selected eighth in the country. Baseball America also ranked his 2004 class 11th in the nation with the publication naming the Tar Heels recruiting class of 2003 as the No. 1 group in the country. That 2003 class also tied for first in Collegiate Baseball's recruiting rankings with South Carolina.
Under Holbrook's eye, UNC batted .324 as a team in the 2008 season and posted six of the top seven hitting seasons in Tar Heel history. The Tar Heels led the nation in hits in 2007 as well with 820 to finish the year.
The school record for batting average in Chapel Hill was also set under Holbrook's direction in 2002 when the Tar Heels finished with a .325 mark.
Holbrook is a 1994 graduate of North Carolina with a degree in physical education. He is the son of Eddie Holbrook, former head men's basketball coach for Gardner-Webb and Furman.
Holbrook and his wife, the former Jennifer Hilliard, were married in August of 2000. They have two sons, Reece, who was born on May 4, 2002, and Cooper, who was born on June 14, 2004.