COLUMBIA, SC - The University of South Carolina baseball program and head coach Mark Kingston have announced the hiring of Skylar Meade as pitching coach for the Gamecocks.
"We are excited to welcome Skylar, his wife Jesse and their son Kasen to the Gamecock nation," Kingston said. "Skylar comes with the highest of recommendations from some of the most respected people in baseball. We set out to find a coach with some very specific attributes and Skyler has them all. He has a proven track record of leading his staff to achieve at an elite level, including the third-best ERA in the NCAA in 2016. He has a great energy for recruiting, which will be a big part of bringing top-level talent to Columbia. He also has shown an impressive ability to relate to and develop pitchers in preparation for professional baseball. Finally, having pitched in Omaha with Louisville, he has a burning desire to return as a coach. This is a tremendous fit for Gamecock Baseball."
Meade joins Carolina after spending three seasons as the pitching coach at Michigan State University. Under Meade's watch, an MSU pitcher led the Big Ten in earned-run average in each of the past two seasons (Walter Borkovich in 2017; Dakota Mekkes in 2016). Additionally, the Spartans posted their top three strikeout totals in school history in the last three seasons with 409 strikeouts in 2015, 466 in 2016 and 420 last year.
"I want to thank Coach Tanner and Coach Kingston for giving me the opportunity, for having me and my wife down here and treating us right and giving us a chance at such a great place," Meade said. "I think it's the ultimate spot in college baseball. It's the best job in college baseball with the best facility and the best fans. They deserve a champion, and that's what we as a staff plan to do. I'm excited to see the guys. I know there's a lot of talent, and I'm excited to get there and get going, hopefully having this thing moving in the right direction immediately."
Michigan State had the Big Ten's best ERA (2.75), opponent's batting average (.234) and runs allowed (199) in 2016. That ERA also was third in the nation and fifth-lowest in school history. Meade helped Mekkes earn NCBWA All-America honors after finishing the season leading the nation in strikeouts per nine innings (15.16) and hits per nine innings (4.11). In 2015, Meade helped Joe Mockbee to a 1.78 ERA, the lowest by a Spartan since 1974.
Meade spent two seasons as the pitching coach at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Blue Raider pitching staff lowered its team ERA in each of his two seasons at the school. In 2014, MTSU posted its lowest team ERA since 2001 (4.10) as it finished fourth in its inaugural season in Conference USA. Meade also mentored Zac Curtis, who was selected in the sixth round of the MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks and is currently with the Philadelphia Phillies, and Daniel Palo, a Colorado Rockies draftee.
Prior to joining the staff at MTSU, Meade worked for five seasons at Eastern Illinois, first as a graduate assistant and then as an assistant coach in 2009. EIU posted one of the Ohio Valley Conference's best rotations during his time at the school. The Panthers sported the best team ERA in the OVC in four of his five years - 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 - while finishing second in 2009.
Meade assisted in coaching the Panthers to the 2009 OVC regular-season title and a 36-14 record. The year prior, EIU captured the 2008 OVC Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history.
During his tenure at EIU, Meade saw a number of his pitchers rack up All-OVC accolades in addition to being selected in the MLB Draft. In 2010, Josh Mueller was drafted in the 13th round of the MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies, while teammate Mike Recchia signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees. Tyler Kehrer, who led the OVC in strikeouts and opponent batting average in 2009, became the highest drafted EIU player since 1988, as he was taken 48th overall by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Compensation Round A.
Meade joined the coaching staff at EIU after his playing career at the University of Louisville. With the Cardinals, Meade anchored a pitching staff that helped lead Louisville to the 2007 College World Series. The left-handed pitcher recorded nine wins in 2007 and limited opposing batters to a .247 average. He concluded his career with a 16-7 record, including a 5-1 mark in conference action.
The native of Louisville, Kentucky, earned a bachelor's degree in sports administration from Louisville in 2007 and completed a master's degree in kinesiology and sports studies (sports management) in the summer of 2009 from EIU.
Meade and his wife, Jesse, have one child, Kasen.
-per USC Athletics