Chad Holbrook’s first staff as South Carolina’s new head baseball coach is set.
With the expected announcement Monday afternoon of naming former standout player Brian Buscher as the volunteer assistant coach, Holbrook finished making his initial hires.
They’ll all have a familiar look to USC fans, as Buscher takes over the spot of Sammy Esposito, the former volunteer assistant who was elevated to full-time assistant and recruiting coordinator.
“It’s an exciting time for us,” Holbrook said. “Coach Esposito and Coach Buscher are great, great people.”
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Buscher played for a pair of College World Series teams in 2002 and 2003 as USC’s third baseman before making it to the major leagues with the Minnesota Twins from 2007-09. He returned as the student assistant coach on the 2011 USC team that won a national championship. He also won a Coastal Plain League title this summer managing the Columbia Blowfish.
“He’s a great Gamecock player, a major leaguer. He knows what it’s all about to play in this program. It’s great for us as far as recruiting is concerned to have a big leaguer on our staff,” said Holbrook, citing the respect that players had for Buscher in 2011. “He has a strong passion for coaching and teaching, and obviously he did a great job with the Blowfish.”
Esposito, whose father Sam Esposito coached Ray Tanner at N.C. State, paid his dues as the volunteer assistant for five years, including time as the first-base coach for the 2010 and 2011 national championship teams. Holbrook believes that he is ready for this new challenge.
“Coach Esposito is a very, very organized guy, very passionate, very enthusiastic,” Holbrook said. “He has all the traits that you need to be a great recruiting coordinator. He’s going to coordinate things inside of our office, and we’re all going to continue to work hard as a staff in the recruiting aspect. That’s the lifeblood of any program.”
Both coaches are prepared to take on their new roles with school starting this week. Official team practice begins Sept. 14.
“I couldn’t have been in a better program the past five years to learn all the things to get myself in a situation like this. I’ve worked with some wonderful coaches,” Esposito said. “To be able to get my first full-time paid job here, it’s unbelievable. It’s extremely rewarding.”
Buscher felt the same way.
“I got to play here, and play for a national championship,” Buscher said “Columbia and the University of South Carolina are very special to me. I met my wife, and there are a lot of great things that happened to me here. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Pitching coach Jerry Meyers will retain his role, although he was promoted to associate coach right after Holbrook took over in July for Tanner, who stepped down after 16 stellar seasons to become the school’s new athletics director. Student assistant coach Drew Meyer, another former USC standout, will return for his second season in the same role.
Holbrook expects no changes in how his staff does business. He pointed to the success all of them had under Tanner in reaching three consecutive CWS finals. The coaches are ready to keep that run going.
“Coach Tanner did a good job of building this ship,” Buscher said. “We’re just going to steer it a little bit.”
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