Gamecocks hire Matt Williams as Pitching Coach
COLUMBIA – The University of South Carolina baseball program and head coach Mark Kingston have announced the hiring of Matt Williams as the pitching coach for the Gamecocks.
“I’m very excited to have Matt Williams join our staff as our pitching coach,” Kingston said. “His experience at the collegiate level, the success he has had with the pitching staff in every place he has been and his ties to the state of South Carolina and the Southeast in recruiting make him the right choice as we move into the 2024 season. Matt is regarded by professional scouts and coaches as one of the best pitching coaches in the country. We welcome Matt, his wife Denton and son Calahan to the Gamecock family.”
“South Carolina is home,” Williams said. “My wife is an alum. This is the state I grew up playing in and where I started coaching. I’m excited to come back to the state alongside Coach Kingston and the staff. I look forward to helping this team get back to Omaha!”
Williams has seen 35 pitchers sign professional contracts while five of his former pitchers have gone on to make their Major League debuts and pitch in the majors. During his time as a pitching coach, he has had four pitchers go on to win Conference Pitcher of the Year and numerous others go on to win All-Conference honors.
Williams, who has spent 18 years as a collegiate pitching coach, comes to the Gamecocks after four seasons as the associate head coach/pitching coach at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Under Williams’ tutelage, the Flames advanced to the NCAA Tournament in both 2021 and 2022, advancing to the final of the 2021 Knoxville Regional and playing in the 2022 Gainesville Regional. In his first full season at Liberty in 2021, the Flames were 41-16, setting a school record for winning percentage at the Division I level.
Liberty was among the nation’s top teams in strikeouts in 2022, averaging 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings (15th in the NCAA) and eclipsing the program’s single-season record with 620 strikeouts. In addition, the Flames were 19th in the country in strikeout to walk ratio (2.79) and 32nd in ERA (4.29) in 2022. Not only did Liberty lead the ASUN Conference in those categories, but the Flames also led the conference in runs allowed per game (5.0).
The Flames pitching staff was among the national leaders in several categories in 2021. Liberty finished the year fifth in the country in runs allowed per game (3.6), 12th in ERA (3.57), ninth in WHIP (1.22), 15th in shutouts (6) and 13th in hits allowed per nine innings (7.60). Along with the above, the Flames pitching also topped the ASUN Conference in innings pitched (501.0), strikeouts (487) and saves (15).
Williams coached Garrett Horn, who went 6-1 with a 1.99 ERA and was named to the Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA Freshman All-America teams in 2022 and Joe Adametz III, who was an All-ASUN pitcher who led the league with a 2.51 ERA in 2022. In 2021, Friday night starter Trevor DeLaite led the pitching staff, becoming the first pitcher in program history to be named a National Pitcher of the Year finalist and earn All-American honors. DeLaite recorded the most wins in school history with a 12-1 record and posted a 2.18 ERA, en route to ASUN Pitcher of the Year honors. He also coached Trey Gibson, who was the ASUN Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American by both Collegiate Baseball and D1 Baseball. He also coached Fraser Ellard, who was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the eighth round of the 2021 MLB Draft.
Despite the shortened season of 2020, the pitching staff was already making strides under Williams in his first year at Liberty. Flames pitchers Joe Adametz (1.59) and Noah Skirrow (1.96) were off to a strong start to the year, posting below 2.00 ERAs. Skirrow later signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
In 2019 Williams worked in a couple of different roles with the San Diego Padres. He began as an International Crosschecker before transitioning into the role of pitching coach at Fort Wayne (Ind.) the Midwest League Affiliate of the Padres. In Fort Wayne, he would help what was the youngest staff in the league grow. A staff that had All-Stars LHP Joey Cantillo, LHP Ryan Weathers, and RHP Henry Henry. Cantillo would go on to lead the league in wins, era, and strikeouts, winning the Midwest League Pitcher of the Year. RHP Gabe Mosser had the best strikeout to walk ratio (6.3) in the league before earning a second-half promotion.
In five seasons as the pitching coach at UNCW, he helped lead the Seahawks to record-setting success on the mound. He worked with 17 pitchers that would hear their names selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Williams coached three Colonial Athletic Association Pitchers of the Year in Mat Batts (2014), Ryan Foster (2016), and Alex Royalty (2017). Batts led the CAA with 105 strikeouts while posting a career-low era (2.69) during his senior campaign. Foster became the all-time single season wins leader (13) posting a career-low (2.46) era in his final year. Royalty followed up a CAA All-Rookie Selection with CAA Pitcher of the Year leading the league in wins (9), innings pitched (98.1), and strikeouts (106).
At UNCW, Williams helped the Seahawks to three NCAA regional championship games (Baton Rouge, 2015; Columbia, 2016; Greenville, 2018). The 2018 team had a 3.50 ERA while setting the strikeout record for the second time in his guidance (541). The 2015 team had 493 strikeouts, breaking a record that stood for 12 seasons.
Prior to UNCW Williams worked eight years as the Pitching Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Junior College Power Spartanburg Methodist where he helped the Pioneers make four trips (2007,2009,2012,2013) to the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction Colorado. In 2013 the Pioneers reached the number 1 ranking while going 48-15. Each year his pitching staff ranked in the top 35 Nationally. During his eight-year stint, Williams helped 34 pitchers move on to play at the Division I level.
In 2010 Williams served as the manager, for his former pitching coach Noah Crane, of the Laconia Muskrats in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. In Laconia’s first year Williams helped lead the franchise to a spot in the NECBL playoffs.
Williams began his coaching career assisting Tim Wallace (Spartanburg Methodist Head Coach) with Spartanburg American Legion Post 28 where they went on to win two state championships and have two regional appearances in three years as an assistant. Williams spent one summer as the Head Coach of Post 28 helping led them to a playoff berth. In the summers Williams also helped coach two summers with the South Carolina-based Diamond Devils Travel Team.
Williams prepped at Lancaster High School (S.C.) before moving on to Spartanburg Methodist College where he helped his sophomore class to 101 victories in two years and a trip to the NJCAA World Series. He also had a stint in Independent Baseball with the Mid Missouri Mavericks of the Frontier League. Williams is a graduate of Limestone College with a degree in Liberal Studies.
Williams and his wife, Denton have a one-year-old son, Calahan.
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