South Carolina head baseball coach Ray Tanner has earned Coach of the Year honors from Baseball America.
Tanner just completed his 14th year as head coach at the University of South Carolina leading the Gamecocks to a national championship and a 54-16 overall record. Tanner also recently earned National Coach of the Year honors from Collegiate Baseball.
On the way to the title at the College World Series, the Gamecocks became the first team ever to win six consecutive games in Omaha on the way to a national title, the first men’s national championship at the University of South Carolina. This past season’s trip was the fourth to the College World Series for Coach Tanner along with three consecutive trips from 2002-2004.
This is the second time that Tanner has earned the award from Baseball America. He also earned the distinction after the 2000 season. He joins Augie Garrido, Gene Stephenson, Skip Bertman and Dave Snow as two-time winners. Under Tanner’s leadership, South Carolina owns the longest current streak of NCAA Regional appearances among the 12 SEC schools with 11 straight trips to the tournament dating back to the 2000 season. In that span, Carolina has eight NCAA Super Regional appearances (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010). South Carolina is one of only six schools in the nation to make at least eight NCAA Super Regionals in the last 11 years and one of only eight schools in the country to have reached the NCAA Regionals every season from 2000 to the present. The program’s 11-year total record of 522-217 is the fourth highest win total among NCAA Division I schools. South Carolina has 11 consecutive seasons of 40 or more wins.
The Gamecocks have also collected championships in the Southeastern Conference with regular season titles in 2000 and 2002 along with a SEC Tournament crown in 2004. Tanner’s last 11 teams have featured 20 All-America performers including senior right-handed pitcher Blake Cooper.
This past season was Tanner’s 23rd year as a collegiate head coach. At South Carolina, Tanner has a .692 winning percentage – the second highest in Southeastern Conference history. This past season, Tanner also reached a career milestone, recording his 1,000th career victory, as he became the fourth fastest active coach to reach that total.
Tanner has also gained valuable experience at an international level in his association with USA Baseball. He has served five stints with Red, White & Blue including his latest in 2003 as head coach for the USA National Baseball Team. At the helm of some of the top freshmen and sophomores in the country, Tanner’s club finished with a 27-2 record, the best record for a U.S. National Team (.931 winning percentage) and won a silver medal at the 2003 Pan American Games. He was named the U.S. National Coach of the Year for his work that season. Prior to his head coaching stint, Tanner served as an auxiliary coach for the 2000 Olympic Team under Tommy Lasorda that won a gold medal at the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney, Australia. He was also an assistant with the 1995-1996 USA teams under former LSU coach Skip Bertman that culminated in a bronze medal win at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga.
Tanner also served alongside current Mississippi State coach Ron Polk on Bertman’s staff. Tanner’s first stint with USA Baseball came as an assistant coach to the national team in the summer of 1993.