Updated list of names to watch in South Carolina baseball coaching search
Tier 1: Home run hire
Louisville coach Dan McDonnell: A former player at The Citadel, McDonnell has built Louisville into a powerhouse. Including this season, the Cardinals have advanced to at least a super regional each of the past five years with two College World Series appearances during that time. The Gamecocks would have to pay up to have a chance at McDonnell as he is making $1 million per year.
Virginia coach Brian O’Connor: O’Connor has been the head coach at Virginia since 2004 and has led the Cavaliers to the NCAA tournament each season with four trips to the College World Series since 2009, including a national championship in 2015. He is well compensated at $600,000 per year but South Carolina would have no problem topping that salary if Ray Tanner decides O’Connor is his guy and can convince him to come to Columbia.
Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan: The former Clemson assistant has led Florida to the College World Series five times since 2010 and has the Gators in a super regional this season. Prying him away won’t be easy, but South Carolina has much better facilities and fan support than Florida. O’Sullivan is one of the highest paid coaches in the country at more than $1 million per season so hiring him will not be cheap.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle: A former assistant at Elon and Clemson, Schlossnagle has turned TCU into one of the top programs in the country. The Horned Frogs have reached the College World Series three consecutive seasons and are in a super regional this year. Schlossnagle will also not be cheap as his salary is well over $1 million, reportedly at approximately $1.4 million.
Tier 2: Successful coaches at big programs
Arizona coach Jay Johnson: The 40-year-old has quickly risen up the college ranks, going from an assistant at San Diego in 2013 to the head coach at Arizona in 2016. He had a stop as the head coach at Nevada along the way and was 72-42 in two seasons there. Johnson led Arizona to a College World Series Runner-Up finish in 2016 and made the tournament this season.
Clemson coach Monte Lee: The former College of Charleston coach and current Clemson coach is close with Tanner from his time working as an assistant at USC from 2003-08. It would certainly be unusual for Lee to go from the Tigers to Gamecocks, but he would likely accept Tanner's phone call and at least listen to what he has to say. The Tigers hosted regionals in each of Lee’s first two seasons at Clemson but have yet to advance to a super regional.
Wake Forest coach Tom Walter: The coach at Wake Forest since 2010, Walter has helped the Demon Deacons reach the NCAA tournament the past two seasons, and Wake will play in a super regional this weekend. Walter previously helped George Washington and New Orleans reach the NCAA tournament before taking over at Wake Forest.
Tier 3: Up-and-coming coaches with an impressive resume
Michigan coach Erik Bakich: A former assistant at Clemson and then Vanderbilt, Bakich has led Michigan to the NCAA tournament two of the past three seasons. Bakich played at East Carolina and had a stop as the head coach at Maryland before taking over the Michigan program.
South Alabama coach Mark Calvi: South Carolina fans are familiar with this name as Calvi was an assistant at USC from 2005-2010. He has been the head coach at South Alabama since 2012 and has led his program to the NCAA tournament twice, including this season.
Indiana coach Chris Lemonis: A former player and assistant coach at The Citadel, Lemonis was an assistant at Louisville before taking over the Hoosiers program in 2015. Indiana has advanced to the NCAA tournament in two of his three years as head coach.
UCF coach Greg Lovelady: Lovelady has excelled in his four years as a head coach, leading UCF to the NCAA tournament this season and Wright State to the tourney the previous two years. Lovelady was a longtime assistant at Wright State before taking over the program and continuing the success.