MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. – First it was Mike Wilson, the CSU head golf coach, who left in September for greener pastures and the same position at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. More money, less problems in this case. The move made sense.
Then it was Jamey Chadwell. Charleston Southern’s most successful head football coach in school history left in early January to become the offensive coordinator at Coastal Carolina, a school CSU knocked off in 2016.
Chadwell saw Coastal as a better opportunity, despite not being a head coaching gig.
More money? Sure, at least according to Chants’ head coach Joe Moglia. More say in football decisions? Nope. Chadwell’s role is reduced since he’s no longer a head coach but his happiness is heightened without the daily limitations and frustrations experienced at Charleston Southern. More on that in a moment.
When one head coach leaves, there is bound to be staff attrition. However, quarterbacks’ coach Mark Tucker was hired as Chadwell’s replacement and Tucker offered to keep every member of the original staff. Not everyone took his offer.
Wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Willy Korn followed Chadwell to Coastal Carolina.
Former Defensive Coordinator Chad Staggs left for the same job at Furman and with him went Skylor Magee (defensive line) and Rod Wilson (linebackers).
I’m no math major, but that makes six coaches in roughly four months who have left the Charleston Southern athletic department.
Until Stuart Lake made seven when the University of South Carolina announced the Bucs’ head baseball coach would take the role as Coordinator of Baseball Administration and Director of Player Development for the Gamecocks.
It was a shock to the players.
Lake was a CSU lifer, or so it seemed. He graduated from Charleston Southern in 1994. Bounced around the SEC at South Carolina and Ole Miss, even making stops as an assistant at the College of Charleston and The Citadel before landing the head job at CSU in 2009.
He gave all of his talents and much of his time to building the program. He inherited a baseball field that didn’t have lights. You couldn’t play night games. That changed when Lake went to work.
In October of 2016, construction began on the Singleton Baseball Complex, a 1.5 million dollar facility that will serve as a locker room, coaches office, training facility, and chill-out zone for the Buccaneer baseball team. On paper, Lake received support. But it took years to get lights and a terrible tragedy in downtown Charleston until ground was broken on a baseball complex.
Still, you can’t question Lake’s investment in the program. And his opportunity with UofSC, although debatable, was too good to pass up. They are a top five program.
But would Lake and Chadwell have ever left if they received more support from administration?
Chadwell was suspended for a petty violation during football season. It was embarrassing, for all parties but particularly Chadwell, who received little public support from his administration.
It’s hard to point the finger at one person with so many leaving but Athletic Director Hank Small and President Dr. Jairy C. Hunter deserve to shoulder some of the blame, for bad PR if nothing else.
Most would say “it’s no big deal” when coaches leave jobs for better opportunities… But when you coach at Charleston Southern, better opportunities exist just about anywhere else.