South Carolina Baseball: Some significant candidates to be the Gamecock head coach

South Carolina baseball will have its fair share of quality candidates to interview for its head coaching vacany.
South Carolina baseball head coach candidate Chris Pollard
South Carolina baseball head coach candidate Chris Pollard / Eakin Howard/GettyImages
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South Carolina Baseball Head Coaching Candidates:
The Assistants

Though head coaching vacancies at the biggest programs in college baseball are often filled by sitting head coaches from other schools, sometimes assistants get the job. Former Gamecock coach Chad Holbrook was an assistant prior to his hiring, and so were current SEC head coaches Tony Vitello, Kevin O'Sullivan, Wes Johnson, Nick Mingione, and Skip Johnson.

There are at least two assistants who will be considered for the Carolina gig.

Monte Lee, South Carolina Gamecocks Hitting Coach/Associate Head Coach

Monte Lee has an interesting history. As one of the top Gamecock assistants under Ray Tanner, he left the program before the National Championship runs to return to his alma mater (the College of Charleston) as the head coach. Then, he went to Clemson for seven seasons before returning to Columbia as an assistant. He is now the interim head coach.

Past, present, and future players are coming out in droves to support Lee's candidacy for the full-time head coaching job. There have even been social media rumblings that a Lee hire would keep some notable players on the roster and out of the MLB Draft and/or transfer portal.

However, no matter how many players call for a certain candidate to get the job, Ray Tanner, the Board of Trustees, and the Athletic Department will be involved with many names. Lee will be part of those discussions almost certainly, but his tenure (and firing) with the rival Clemson Tigers likely will not help the optics of his candidacy.

If Monte Lee does not get the job, he will be a candidate at other places. He also is the type of coach who could be retained by the next head coach with the Gamecocks if he doesn't find another head coaching gig he likes (he will have offers). He is well-respected in the coaching world and a valuable part of a staff.

With all of that in mind, Monte Lee will be one of the top candidates for the job.

Josh Elander, Tennessee Volunteers Associate Head Coach

Probably the hottest assistant coaching name in college baseball is Josh Elander. As Tennessee baseball has emerged as a big-time program under Tony Vitello, Elander has become his top assistant.

Elander is considered one of the top hitting coaches and recruiting coordinators in the sport, and he also has experience coaching catchers. If he is not the next head coach in Columbia, it would seem to be a near guarantee that he will be the next head coach of another quality program this offseason.

Elander played at TCU when Vitello was an assistant coach there and was an off-field coach at Arkansas when Vitello was an assistant in Fayetteville. He knows what quality baseball looks like, and having worked under legends like Jim Schlossnagle and Dave Van Horn and under one of the top coaches in the sport in Vitello, Elander is viewed as a future star as a head coach.

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