College of Charleston Head Coach Chad Holbrook completed his coaching staff on Friday with the additions of Kevin Nichols as assistant head coach/hitting, Jim Toman as assistant head coach/recruiting and Will Dorton as assistant coach/pitching.
“I'm so excited about the addition of Kevin, Jim and Will,” Holbrook said. “Our staff has a wealth of experience, knowledge and recruiting contacts within the state of South Carolina. We will have 33 years of head-coaching experience on our staff and that will be a great resource for our players and our program.”
Nichols joins the Cougar family following 18 years as the head coach at NCAA Division II Erskine College located in Due West, S.C. As the winningest coach in school history, Nichols amassed 588 career wins – including three 40-win seasons – while leading the Flying Fleet to a pair of NCAA Finals. During his tenure, the Fleet were consistently ranked in the Top 30 nationally which culminated with the school’s highest ranking of No. 2 in 2015.
Under Nichols, 35 players signed professional contracts, 100 garnered all-conference honors, 33 were named to an all-region team, 12 were named All-Americans, and two were named National Players of the Year (Casey Smith in 2005 and Bryan Fogle in 2010). Three former players currently hold NCAA career records — Fogle (Home Runs, RBIs and Total Bases), Chas Anthony (Doubles) and Shelton Cisson (Hits). Atlee Pearson and Jake Williams each broke the NCAA career saves record, before it was surpassed last season.
Nichols came to Erskine following a three-year career in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Prior to his professional career, Nichols played at the University of Alabama and was a three-time All-American.
“Kevin Nichols is regarded as one of the top hitting and offensive minds in college baseball,” Holbrook said. “He is also a great recruiter and a tireless worker.”
Prior to his arrival at The College, Toman spent nine seasons as the head coach at Liberty University. With the Flames, Toman amassed 329 wins to rank second in program history behind Al Worthington’s total of 343. Toman and the Flames overcame a rocky regular season in 2013 to win the Big South Conference Tournament Championship, before advancing to the Columbia Regional final. The Flames won at least 30 games in each of Toman’s nine seasons and 24 players were selected in the Major League Baseball draft under his watch.
Toman spent 11 years as Ray Tanner’s top assistant at the University of South Carolina prior to his arrival at Liberty, and an additional seven seasons under Tanner at NC State. Widely regarded as one of the top recruiters in the nation, Toman has presided over 15 top-25 recruiting class including 11-consecutive classes during his time at South Carolina. From 2003-06, three of the Gamecocks’ four recruiting classes were ranked No. 1 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.
During his time on the staff in Columbia, S.C., Toman and the Gamecocks made nine NCAA Regional appearances including eight-straight between 2000-07 and three-consecutive trips to the College World Series (2002-04). Add in his seven seasons at NC State, Toman has helped lead 14 teams to NCAA Regional appearances.
“Coach Toman has always been recognized as one of the top coaches and recruiters in our business,” Holbrook said. “His recruiting expertise will pay dividends to the College of Charleston right away. He is also a great coach with great experience and I will lean on him daily.”
Dorton returns to his alma mater following a one-year stint as the pitching coach at Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, S.C. Last season, the Stingers posted a 42-19 record and made the program’s first appearance in the NJCAA World Series. Under Dorton’s guidance, the pitching staff shaved 2.6 runs from the previous season’s ERA, while leading the nation in strikeouts per nine innings (11.27) and finishing third in shutouts (11).
“I believe Will Dorton is an up-and-coming superstar in our profession,” Holbrook said. “He’s a tireless worker, extremely knowledgeable and very organized. He's been a winner his whole life. He will bring energy, toughness and the experience of being a baseball player at the College of Charleston. He's a great addition to our program.”
Prior to his stint at Florence-Darlington, Dorton spent one season as the pitching coach at Hanahan High School in Hanahan, S.C., and one as the pitching coach at Blythewood High School in Columbia. Dorton began his coaching career in 2014 as the pitching coach for Camden American Legion Post 17. After one season, he was promoted to head coach. In his two seasons, Post 17 won 52 games and made the program’s first-ever appearance in the state tournament.
Dorton graduated from the College of Charleston with a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education. Before committing to the Cougars, Horton was a four-year letterman in both baseball and football at Lugoff-Elgin High School, where he helped lead his team to a baseball state championship in 2010. He was drafted in the 15th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds. Following his commitment to CofC, Dorton was named the Southern Conference Top Incoming Freshman by Baseball America.
“I could not be more excited about the staff we have put together,” Holbrook said. “There's great experience, a history of winning and great ties within the entire baseball community. Most importantly, these guys are great people and they will represent the College of Charleston in a first-class manner.”