It has been more than a little mystifying to witness USC fans hammer Chad Holbrook during what has been a great season for the Gamecock baseball team. Despite the fact that USC is currently tied for first place in the SEC, ranked in the top 10 and in position for a national seed, Holbrook still gets pelted with slings and arrows every time the Gamecocks lose a game. Sure, the fan expectation level for South Carolina baseball is higher than most places, but getting upset with the coach of a 37-11 team is borderline insane.
After last night’s win over Presbyterian Holbrook was asked what it’s been like to follow a legend like Ray Tanner and how that may affect how he’s being treated by the fans. Holbrook gave a lengthy and honest answer which you can listen to in it’s entirety below. Here are a few of the more notable quotes, emphasis ours.
Honestly, I am here because of Ray Tanner. I wasn’t consumed or worried one iota about following him. That’s for you guys and for the fans to say “Oh you don’t ever follow a legend, too big of shoes to fill.” I just want to coach. I could care less who it is after or who it’s before.
There’s pressure if I follow Ray Tanner or following anybody at South Carolina. If you coach anywhere in the SEC that’s got a 40 million dollar stadium and has had great success and great tradition, there’s pressure. It doesn’t matter who the coach is, there’s going to be pressure.
“I just do the best I can every day. You know, I’ve been lucky to be here four years, we had a tough year last year, I’m proud as heck of my first two years here. Last year was a struggle for me, and I’m sitting up here extremely lucky to have coached this group this year. The season is not over and there’s probably going to be some bumps along the way, but I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished and how they’ve represented this school both on and off the field and they way that they’ve played.
I learned a lot last year and I think that actually it made me more better prepared to coach here going forward. It’s a privilege and a honor to coach at a school that loves baseball and the fans love baseball. We got seven, eight thousand fans that come to our games and there’s some that get mad when you lose, but that’s okay, they care. It’s great to coach at a place that the people care. Because there are a lot of baseball programs out there that not many people care. I’m lucky that I get to coach at a place where people have passion and care.
And this one is our personal favorite from Holbrook, addressing the fans that lose their mind every time the Gamecocks don’t find a way to win a game.
If they get mad, they get mad. You know what, they ain’t madder than I am. I mean they are sitting on their coach eating chips and drinking cokes and they’re mad. We’ve invested every single ounce of energy we’ve got, we’re a lot madder when we have a tough one.”