College World Series: Former Coastal Carolina players gather before game
A trip to Omaha is a special occasion for any college baseball program. When it’s the first trip in program history, it’s all the more special.
Before Coastal Carolina’s game against Florida on Sunday, the first College World Series game in program history, former Chanticleers gathered for a photo in front of the stadium. There were about 40 former players, with many more family members and fans around, making for a sea of teal outside the main gate.
With many people associated with Coastal coming in to Omaha for the game, athletic department staffers decided to try to get everyone together, sending out a tweet for a 5 p.m. local call. The endeavor proved successful, with, as the group not only took photos in front of the now iconic statue in front of TD Ameritrade Park, but dressed it up in Coastal Carolina gear, including a ‘Rafiki’ shirt.
Former player Chance Gilmore, head coach Gary Gilmore’s son, was in attendance at the get-together.
“It’s a family,” Gilmore said. “That’s one thing that’s really special about this program. Once you’re here and a part of it, you’re part of the family. Guys from the previous class always come back and support the next guys. It’s a nice tradition of always taking it a step further than the team did before you.”
That “family” vibe was obvious from the meeting. There were former players ranging from 20 years ago to recent graduates. Coastal has had some successful teams in the past, but none had made it to the College World Series. Now that this year’s team has made it, it’s no surprise to see so much support from the alumni.
Gary Gilmore has been the head coach at Coastal for 21 years, and he is a 1980 graduate of the school. All but one of the assistant coaches also attended the school, and that kind of unity is something that has been preached by Gilmore since he got there.
“[Coach Gilmore] obviously where it comes from,” the younger Gilmore said. “It’s part of what he wanted to build here, a tradition that everybody was proud of, and that’s what he’s been able to do. It’s a pretty great thing.”