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Kevin Schnall hired to lead Coastal Carolina University baseball program

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Coastal Carolina University on Monday officially named Kevin Schnall as the school’s sixth head baseball coach.

The former Chanticleer catcher and associate head coach takes over for Gary Gilmore, who retired after leading the program for 29 years. The Chanticleers’ 2024 season ended with a loss to Clemson in the NCAA Regional Tournament.

“Being given the privilege to coach at my alma mater and now lead this program is one of the greatest honors of my life,” Schnall said in a news release. “I am deeply grateful to Matt Hogue, Dr. [Michael] Benson, and our Board of Trustees for entrusting me with the leadership of our storied baseball program. If it weren’t for the opportunity Gary Gilmore gave me 24 years ago, this wouldn’t be possible.

“His leadership and guidance have brought us to where we are today, and I am forever indebted to him. Coastal Carolina is a special place, and my family and I couldn’t be more excited!”
 
Schnall played catcher for the Chanticleers from 1995-99 and was inducted into the George F. “Buddy” Sasser Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005. He was also the 1999 Big South Conference Player of the Year.

Schnall set the CCU single-season record for on-base percentage and was hired by his alma mater as an assistant coach in 2001. He coached at Coastal from 2001-12 before spending three seasons as the hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator at the University of Central Florida.

Schnall returned to CCU in 2016 and helped guide the Chanticleers to a national championship in his first season. The Chants swept the regular season and Big South Tournament titles before winning the NCAA Raleigh Regional and the NCAA Baton Rouge Super Regional en route to the program’s first trip ever to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
 
In 2024, the Chants led the Sun Belt Conference in runs and RBI and ranked first in the league in batting average, runs scored, hits, doubles, RBI, total bases, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage in 2023. 
 
Schnall has mentored 10 players who have earned conference Player of the Year Honors. Under Schnall’s guidance, Daniel Bowman set CCU career records for hits, RBI, and total bases, while Matt Beaird ended his career behind the plate as Coastal’s career and single-season leader in runners caught stealing. The Chants have led the conference in home runs in 12 of Schnall’s seasons on staff and have been the league leaders in runs scored 12 times, including each of the past two seasons. CCU has scored at least 500 runs seven times in Schnall’s last 14 seasons on staff after failing to crack 500 in each of the program’s first 22 seasons. 
 
Twice, Schnall has been recognized by Baseball America in a survey of the nation’s head coaches as one of the nation’s top assistant coaches, ranking seventh prior to the 2013 season and sixth in another poll that came out in December of 2017. In the summer of 2018, Schnall was named one of the top assistant coaches in the NCAA as D1Baseball.com released its list of the top 15 premier assistant coaches for 2018.

Since returning to CCU as the recruiting coordinator in 2016, the Chants have had three classes ranked nationally by Collegiate Baseball (2017, 2018, 2019), D1Baseball (2018), Baseball America (2018), and Perfect Game (2019) with the 2018 class perhaps the most highly rated recruiting class in Coastal history at No. 14 (D1Baseball), No. 18 (Collegiate Baseball), and No. 25 (Baseball America).
 
Offensively, the Chants ranked in the top five in the Sun Belt in 2023 in several statistical categories, including first in runs (528), RBI (494), sacrifice flies (36), and batters hit by pitch (132). CCU also ranked second in the conference in walks (325), doubles per game (2.10), and on-base percentage (.418)  The Chants were also third in batting average (.296), doubles (128), hits (609), home runs (89), home runs per game (1.46), and runs per game (8.7) on the season.

In 2020, Schnall served as acting head coach during the absence of Gilmore, helping Coastal go 11-5 in the pandemic-shortened season. 

During his three seasons at UCF, Schnall was responsible for a trio of nationally ranked recruiting classes and helped Chris Taladay earn Conference USA Player of the Year honors. In Schnall’s final season in Orlando, UCF led the American Athletic Conference and ranked sixth nationally with 66 home runs, while leading the AAC and ranking 12th in the NCAA in slugging percentage. 

Schnall also boasts successful stints as a summer league head coach. In 2001, he coached Front Royal (Va.) of the Valley League and led the Cardinals to the playoffs. In 2002, Schnall was tabbed by the Baseball Factory to coach one of its select summer teams.

In Schnall’s first stint in Conway, the Chanticleers made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances in 12 years, advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2008 and 2010. The Chants were No. 1 seeds in four NCAA Regionals and were the No. 4 national seed in 2010. From 2001-12, Schnall helped guide Coastal to eight Big South regular-season championships and eight Big South tournament titles. 

A native of Mercerville, N.J., Schnall posted a .360 career batting average during his time at Coastal Carolina. He became the program’s first NCBWA All-American, earning second-team honors in 1999, and was Coastal’s first and only finalist for the R.E. “Bob” Smith Award, given to the College Player of the Year. He was the first Chanticleer to earn multiple all-conference tournament accolades, earning a spot on the Big South All-Tournament team in 1998 and 1999. His .515 on base-percentage in 1999 set a school record that would stand for six seasons. Behind the plate, Schnall threw out 18 runners in 1999 to set a then-school record. 

After college, Schnall was drafted by Cincinnati in the 25th round and spent two seasons playing professionally, batting .322 in the minor leagues.

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