UofSC’s head baseball coach Mark Kingston talks about season, coaching history
With a season and a half under his belt as South Carolina’s baseball head coach, Mark Kingston was able to talk with Cola Daily about challenges he faces as a coach. He elaborated on the ways UofSC differs from his previous employer, University of South Florida, as well as a host of other topics. He did not disappoint.
By way of background, he played his college ball at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and later put in five years in the majors with the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs, playing both catcher and third base. He broke into college coaching first as an assistant at Illinois State University, in Bloomington, Illinois. Subsequent coaching assignments have taken him to Tulane University (New Orleans), and the University of Miami (where he helped engineer their 2001 College World Series win).
He was asked how being the head coach at Carolina is different from USF:
“Everything is bigger in the SEC. Media attention, fan support, facilities, budgets… everything.”
The competition among major universities for talented players can be intense. Kingston was asked what type of incentive there is for a young player to come to South Carolina over any other Division I school. He did not hesitate with his response. “Our program has everything an athlete could possibly hope for: a great stadium, weight room, locker room, academic support, and fan support,” said Kingston.
Injuries are always a concern, and this year the Gamecocks have had more than their fair share. “We’re basically in a re-building year,” Kingston admitted. However, his focus remains on improvement. “In everything we do, we emphasize preparation, toughness, and discipline. You’re not going to be a champion without those qualities,” he added.
Kingston spoke of Omaha and the College World Series, coming up in June. He was asked if it is still a possibility for the team to make it to Omaha. “Who knows,” he said, smiling. “Anything is possible.”