Coastal Carolina coach fights back tears after College World Series win
Coastal Carolina captured the College World Series crown Thursday, underdogs until the very last out. Not only was it Coastal Carolina’s first baseball championship, it was the school’s first championship in any sport.
The Chanticleers had won the Big South conference many times before, and they’ve made it to the NCAA tournament 14 times. But they’d never made it to the College World Series in Omaha, the promised land for college baseball teams.
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Despite coach Gary Gilmore building a consistently successful baseball program at the 10,000-student school near Myrtle Beach, S.C., they were still just another mid-major team that did well for itself but couldn’t hang with the NCAA power baseball programs. Until this year, that is.
They went 21-3 in conference play, beat NC State in the regionals, swept LSU in the super regionals, then split the first two games of the final series against the University of Arizona. On Thursday, in the third and final game, the Chanticleers beat Arizona 4-3, holding off a dramatic ninth-inning rally to finish their run to the title.
There were a lot of happy people, but none happier than Gilmore, who played at Coastal Carolina then came back to be their coach in 1996. In his 20th season, he delivered the ultimate prize. When he was asked about it on the ESPN broadcast, it turned out to be a fantastic moment. One that might even make you cry. Watch as Gilmore gets choked up, fights back tears and talks about his father who died two years ago.
This is so great – Coastal Carolina Coach Gary Gilmore #NationalChampions pic.twitter.com/j7cHHRKpJz
— Bill Jones (@CBS11BillJones) June 30, 2016
He also delivered this humdinger of a quote:
"We're not the most talented team in America. We're just the champions."@CoastalBaseball head coach Gary Gilmore
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) June 30, 2016
It’s cliché to say, but this truly is what sports are all about. That triumph. That happiness. That moment when you feel like you’re on top of the world after all those years when you weren’t.
Gary Gilmore is not going to forget it. Ever. And neither are his players.
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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz