The document is labeled ‘File 5555.’ It was obtained from the College of Charleston under the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws. According to the school, it was signed on February 7, 2023.
The document has never been made public … not until now, anyway.
What is ‘File 5555?’ It’s a five-year contract extension for embattled College of Charleston baseball coach Chad Holbrook – who is midway through his sixth season in the Holy City. According to the document, Holbrook’s contract was extended through the end of the 2028 season – with no adjustment in compensation.
In other words, Holbrook’s salary (minus any incentives) will remain frozen for the next five years at its 2023 level – the taxpayer-funded portion of which is set at $227,939. A “new contract reflecting the new terms” of the document is supposed to be drafted “within the next ninety days,” or prior to May 10, 2023.
For those of you checking your calendars, that’s just ten days prior to the conclusion of the Cougars’ regular season – which makes the final adoption of this “term sheet” dependent on how well Holbrook’s program performs this year.
“A formal amendment to the contract has not yet been prepared,” a school paralegal noted in a FOIA response obtained by this news outlet.
Take a look …
(Click to view)
(Via: College of Charleston)
Holbrook has the opportunity to earn up to $100,000 a year in performance-based incentives … but that would require his team performing at a much higher level than it has at any point during his tenure in Charleston. Or so far this season.
Readers will recall Holbrook was forced out of his job at South Carolina back in 2017 after five unimpressive seasons at the helm of the once-proud Gamecock program. Holbrook posted a 199-104 (.655) record in Columbia, S.C. – including an 81-67 (.547) mark in Southeastern Conference play. His squad began 2017 ranked fourth in the nation, but dropped eight consecutive SEC series to close out the year – missing the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years.
Holbrook was let go by his mentor – Gamecock athletics director Ray Tanner – following that spectacular collapse, although it was later revealed he was negotiating with Charleston weeks before his ouster.
At Charleston, Holbrook has performed slightly worse than he did at South Carolina – posting a 164-97 (.628) mark. The 52-year-old North Carolina native has also been criticized by some fans for scheduling “cupcakes” – or weak opponents. Last year’s Cougar team captured its first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) regular season championship under Holbrook – although it accomplished the feat against the nation’s 290th toughest schedule (there are only 299 NCAA Division I programs, people).
This year, Holbrook’s team is going up against a tougher slate – the 127th toughest schedule – but faring worse than it did a year ago. Through the first 27 games of the year, the Cougars have gone 16-11 – including four straight losses.
(Click to view)
In addition to lackluster results, Holbrook’s tenure in Charleston has been marred by scandal. Three years ago, he and school athletics director Matt Roberts were accused of committing perjury and destroying evidence in connection with a recently settled federal lawsuit filed by former Cougars’ coach Matt Heath.
That lawsuit – which was eventually settled – exposed some harsh text messages from Holbrook, including one which referred to the Gamecock fan base as “uneducated and unappreciative idiots.”
“The culture here stinks,” he wrote in another message.
“I could care less about South Carolina crap,” Holbrook wrote in yet another message. “I refer to South Carolina athletics as the cess pool of negativity and know it alls. I’m so glad I escaped it all.”
More recently, Holbrook’s program was the subject of an “outside review” sparked by a smartwatch recording of a lengthy “profanity-laced rant” from Holbrook. This rant was recorded by a Cougar baseball player and shared with both school administrators and the law firm investigating Holbrook’s program.
It was later leaked to the mainstream media, which declined to publish it.
Readers will recall allegations of the verbal abuse of players were among the “causes” which led to Heath’s firing – even though the school was clearly getting rid of him to make room for Holbrook.
Holbrook survived his review, though, receiving the “full support” of the school – and showcasing once again that in government-run bureaucracies in the Palmetto State, outcomes are less about consistency and more about who you know.
“An outside review of our baseball program has concluded, and the College has addressed the findings in accordance with its policies,” a statement from the school provided to The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier noted. “Given that this is a personnel matter, the College will have no further public comment. Head baseball coach Chad Holbrook continues to have the full support of our athletics program and the College.”
“I appreciate the college reaffirming their continued support,” Holbrook said in the statement. “This is the result I expected when the outside review was announced. I have nothing to hide and welcomed the review. I’m not perfect by any means, but I’m proud of how we run our program.”
This news outlet is endeavoring to obtain a copy of the un-redacted version of the audio recording of Holbrook, who – channeling his inner Jimmy Dugan – is alleged to have chastised his players “too vehemently.”
Stay tuned …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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