USA TODAY US Edition
Coastal Carolina’s CWS title not as surprising as it seems
Coastal Carolina, a school from the Big South Conference (for one last day) that had never played in the College World Series before this year, seemed like a Cinderella story.
In the context of college football, it would be. But not in other college sports.
The Chanticleers might not have a Power Five conference pedigree, but schools with strong investments and good coaches in sports other than football have shown they can be national powers.
Think Rice in baseball. Villanova in men’s basketball. Wichita State in either sport.
Coastal Carolina has been ranked in every USA TODAY Sports Top 25 Baseball Coaches Poll since April 25, and it entered the NCAA tournament No. 16.
Arizona, the team it beat 4-3 Thursday in the deciding Game 3 of the CWS championship series, didn’t receive a vote in the preseason and entered the postseason unranked.
Coastal Carolina’s coach, Gary Gilmore has won 1,100 games. The Chanticleers have 15 NCAA tournament berths to their credit and made the NCAA super regionals in 2008, 2010 and this year.
Yes, they had to win six elimination games.
They also led college baseball in home runs this season and won a nation’s-- best 55 games.
“This program has been a lot better than people give it credit for,” Gilmore told news reporters in Omaha. “They thought we played in a small conference and couldn’t get this done. This bunch wanted to prove everybody wrong.”
Unlike the multitude of high seeds and site hosts from the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference that did not live up to the hype this postseason, Coastal Carolina created it.
But let’s refrain from using one C-word — Cinderella — when it comes to talking about the Chanticleers.
Let’s stick with another — champions.