Sports

Gamecock Baseball: Mark Kingston Gets The Boot

South Carolina’s Ray Tanner is still searching for a coach who can take the program back to the College World Series …

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The University of South Carolina baseball team announced on Monday morning that head coach Mark Kingston had been fired – a decision made less than 24 hours after the team’s loss in the NCAA Raleigh regional.

Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner – who coached the baseball program for sixteen seasons – made the announcement via a short press release.

“Mark Kingston will not return as University of South Carolina baseball coach for the 2025 season,” Tanner said.

Kingston completed seven seasons with the Gamecocks but ultimately fell flat when it came to coaching his team to a conference, super regional or national title. His final record at South Carolina was 217-155 overall (58.3 percent) and 83-96 in conference play (46.4 percent).

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The Gamecocks climbed as high as No. 13 nationally this year, but were swept in their final two conference series. Then they got bounced from both the SEC tournament and the Raleigh regional – finishing with losses in ten of their final fourteen games.

After falling to Louisiana State University in the semi-finals of the SEC Tournament on May 25, Kingston sounded optimistic about the Gamecocks’ NCAA hopes.

“We’re not a perfect team, we have some warts that we need to try to cover up at times, but we know how to win, and we can beat anybody,” Kingston said in the postgame press conference following his team’s SEC tournament exit.

Well … maybe not anybody.

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South Carolina’s baseball team prepares for regional action in Raleigh, N.C. last weekend. (Gamecock Baseball)

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Although the Gamecocks started strong in Raleigh – defeating James Madison University 8-7 in extra innings on Friday – they fell the following day 6-4 to NC State. With everything on the line in an elimination game on Sunday, they were blanked 2-0 by James Madison.

According to The (Columbia, S.C.) State, Kingston’s contract buyout dropped from $800,000 to $400,000 last weekend – which no doubt made Tanner’s decision to fire him that much easier. The Gamecocks will pay him out in either a lump sum or in monthly installments until his contract ends in May 2027.

During his seven seasons in Columbia, Kingston’s teams advanced to the NCAA tournament four times – including two super regionals – but never made it to the College World Series (CWS). The Gamecocks’ last CWS appearance came in 2012 under Tanner. That year, they fell in the finals to Arizona after winning back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011, also under Tanner.

Tanner must now hire his third baseball coach – and the 31st in program history. Until then, assistant coach Monte Lee will serve in an interim capacity as the search gets underway. Among the favorites to get the job? Former Gamecock standout Landon Powell, who has spent the past ten seasons coaching the North Greenville University Crusaders. Powell’s teams have won five conference crowns – and one Division II national championship – over that time period.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Erin Parrott (Provided)

Erin Parrott is a Greenville, S.C. native who graduated from J. L. Mann High School in 2021. She is currently a rising senior at the University of South Carolina majoring in broadcast journalism. Got feedback or a tip for Erin? Email her here.

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2 comments

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The Colonel Top fan June 4, 2024 at 3:14 pm

The portal will now come into effect and we’ll have a disaster. What could have been an easy rebuild will be a multiyear project.

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CongareeCatfish Top fan June 5, 2024 at 11:18 am

Glad to see Tanner finally woke up to the fact that an AD needs to demand results and move on from those who can’t produce it….too bad it cost us $19 million a while back for him to learn that lesson.

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