COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina baseball officially has a new coach and athletic director Ray Tanner thinks he has a man who can handle the challenges that go with being the head of a top program.
Mark Kingston will take the helm, his contract approved by the South Carolina board of trustees a day after news broke that the former South Florida coach would come to Columbia.
“Throughout this vetting process with numerous candidates, it has become very apparent to me that he is extremely poised in the ability to communicate, relate and motivate student-athletes,” Tanner said. “He’s an outstanding coach. His recruiting prowess has been demonstrated throughout his career, certainly in the last couple of years with a Top 5 recruiting class at his previous institution. …
“I continue to be impressed with his ability that he is so well-rounded to handle the challenges and meet the expectations that we have here at the University of South Carolina.”
The contract runs for six years and will pay Kingston $600,000 annually. South Carolina will pay Kingston’s buyout at USF, which totals $150,000.
“I’m extremely impressed with his background as a baseball coach, his time as an assistant coach and the path that he has taken to get where he is today,” Tanner said. “He was part of a national championship at Miami. He was part of a College World Series team at Tulane.”
Kingston takes over a program that had its first coaching search in 20 years, hired by the man — athletics director Ray Tanner — who was the choice of the most recent coaching search in 1997. The Gamecocks hired Chad Holbrook to run the program after Tanner retired and became the athletic director in 2020. Holbrook resigned June 6 after a 35-25 regular season and a second missed NCAA Tournament in the past three seasons.
Kingston led USF to a 42-19 record in 2017, reaching the NCAA Tournament. His Bulls team beat Florida and Florida State on the road during the season.
He has a 253-180-1 record and three NCAA regional appearances in eight seasons as a head coach, three of which were spent at South Florida. Prior to his arrival at USF in 2015, he coached five seasons at Illinois State (2010-14) and won the Missouri Valley coach of the year award twice.
Kingston spent 13 seasons as an assistant coach at Purdue (1997-98), Illinois State (1999, 2009), Miami (2000-01) and Tulane (2002-08). He won a national title with Miami in 2001 as an assistant coach and reached the College World Series with Tulane in 2005.
Kingston played his college baseball at North Carolina.