CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern University head baseball coach Stuart Lake has resigned his position to accept the Coordinator of Baseball Administration and Director of Player Development at the University of South Carolina, Athletic Director Hank Small announced on Thursday afternoon.
Small also announced that Associate Head Coach Adam Ward will be named the interim head coach for the 2017 baseball season.
“We greatly appreciate all that Coach Lake has done in leading our baseball program and wish him well in his new role at South Carolina,” Small said. “At the same time, we want to announce that Adam Ward will be our interim head coach for this coming baseball season. We look forward to seeing our team’s continued development under an excellent baseball man. Coach Ward’s background at Hanahan, Clemson, Liberty, and CSU has prepared him for this next step. He has had a big role in recruiting a quality group of players and can now be over their development.”
Lake will initially be involved with all aspects of the Gamecock baseball program with a focus on coordinating game day and practice needs for coaches and players. Among his duties will also include game day scouting and statistics, which will incorporate technology to enhance the USC baseball player development.
“I am honored that Coach Holbrook and his staff and players have given me this opportunity,” Lake said. “The exciting part of this opportunity is that I get to return home to a Gamecock program that I love so much. I will get to work with the coaches and players daily in one of the best baseball programs in the country. I am truly honored by this opportunity and I can’t wait to go to work alongside our great staff.”
Lake leaves after eight seasons at the helm of his alma mater. Lake finishes his coaching career with the Bucs as CSU’s career Big South wins leader with 84 conference wins and is second on the CSU all-time wins list with 176 wins.
“The timing of this decision is what has made it so difficult,” Lake said. “I love my players here at CSU and all the ones I have been privileged to coach over the last eight years. As a former CSU baseball player myself, I always took pride in what we were working to accomplish. I will always be grateful to Dr. Hunter, Dr. Brewer and Athletic Director Hank Small for giving me and my family this opportunity eight years ago. My family and I have truly given everything to this Buccaneer baseball program. I truly believe we all made a difference in CSU baseball and I will always be a Buccaneer!”
A 1994 Charleston Southern alum, Lake put together some of the most memorable moments and seasons in CSU history. Over the last three seasons, CSU has wins over both Clemson and South Carolina, while setting a school record with 30 Division I wins. Lake guided the Bucs to a 30-win season in 2014. It was CSU’s first winning season in 18 years.
In Lake’s eight seasons at CSU, the program and its facilities have seen a complete overhaul. CSU Ballpark has seen over a half-million dollars in stadium improvements and building has commenced on the Singleton Baseball Complex, projected to be open during the 2017 season.
During his tenure, the Bucs played its first night game in school history, a 1-0 win over Presbyterian, in the spring of 2013.
Other improvements to the ballpark have included newly-installed season ticket seating, increased general admission seating, a new scoreboard, new major league netting on the backstop and baselines, an Alumni Deck, covered and lighted batting cages, sponsor signage in the outfield, and massive playing surface and drainage system enhancements.
The Buccaneers have also experienced plenty of on-field success during Lake’s tenure. Over the last half-decade, twelve Buccaneers have been drafted or signed as free agents into pro baseball. Most recently, LHP Andrew Tomasovich was taken by the Oakland A’s in the 21st round, while INF Alex Tomasovich and OF Bobby Ison were taken in the 2014 MLB Draft.
Former Buc, Tyler Thornburg, made his Major League debut in 2012. Thornburg was the 96th overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft and quickly has established himself with the Milwaukee Brewers. Thornburg is one of three Buccaneers to reach the Major Leagues since 2002, while a number of others are making their way through the minor league systems.
In 2011, Lake was named Big South Coach of the Year following a season in which the Bucs went 15-12 in conference play.
In the classroom, the Bucs have also excelled. In 2012-13, the baseball team had a team GPA of 3.0 and over Lake’s eight seasons, he has had eight Bucs make the All-Big South Academic teams.
In Lake’s 18-year coaching career, he has coached more than 100 players who have gone on to play professional baseball with 31 of those being drafted in the first 10 rounds. Seven players were drafted in the first round.
Lake has coached three players to be named SEC Player of the Year and one named Southern Conference Player of the Year. Two of his players have been named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List with one winning that coveted award.
Lake has had 24 former student-athletes reach the Major Leagues and Lake is one of the few who can ever claim to coach players that eventually appeared in the Major League All-Star Game, World Series, and the Super Bowl.
In 2008, Lake became the third CSU/Baptist College graduate to coach the Buccaneers, following in the footsteps of Ralph Ciabattari and Jamie Futrell.
Lake earned a Bachelor of Science from Charleston Southern in 1994 and a Masters of Arts from the University of South Carolina in 1998. He is married to the former Tracie Smith of Clover, S.C. and they have one son, Hayden.
About Adam Ward
Ward begins his sixth season with Buccaneers and his first as the Interim Head Coach after being named the Associate Head Coach prior to the 2016 season. During his time at CSU, Ward has worked predominantly as the pitching coach and has helped the Bucs set numerous school records while evolving into one of the premiere staff in the Big South Conference year-in, year out.
For the third consecutive season, Ward and the Bucs’ pitching staff were among the best in the Big South, finishing third in the conference in Team ERA. Evan Raynor was among the Big South leaders in strikeouts, innings pitched, and opp. batting average, while Wil Hartsell emerged as one of the top closers in the conference after missing the first half of the season.
Ward saw his pitching staff put together a school record 471 strikeouts during the 2015 season, culminating in LHP Andrew Tomasovich being drafted in the 21st round by the Oakland A’s. The Bucs finished the season 10th-nationally with 8.8 Ks per nine innings.
The 2015 season was the second consecutive year the Bucs pitching staff contributed to re-writing the CSU record books.
Ward’s staff posted a CSU record five shutouts during the Bucs’ record-setting, 30-win season in 2014. He oversaw a staff that led the Bucs on a late-season run that saw them win 10 of their final 15 Big South games en route to earning a spot in the conference tournament. Tory Schroff enjoyed another excellent campaign under Ward’s tutelage, going 5-4 with a 4.06 ERA while striking out 51 batters. Tomasovich also began to come into his own in 2014, upping his game during Big South play to finish as the staff leader in wins (7), innings pitched (82.1) and strikeouts (52).
Closer Austin Weekley provided another highlight for the CSU pitching staff in 2014, notching 11 saves to become the program’s single-season and all-time leader in the category. Brother and freshman Tyler Weekley opened his CSU career with 24 scoreless innings to add another highlight to the Bucs’ impressive 2014 season.
Ward joined the CSU family prior to the 2012 season from Big South foe Liberty, where he spent the past two seasons working as an assistant for the Flames. Ward also coordinated the Jim Toman Baseball Camps and field maintenance while in Lynchburg. In his first season, Ward helped guide Liberty to a school-record 42 victories and the runner-up position in the Big South Championship. Under his guidance, Flames player Curran Redal earned 2010 Big South All-Conference honors. Ward previously spent four years working with the North Charleston Dixie Youth Majors, piloting the team to state championships in 2007 and 2008 and World Series Championships in 2006 and 2009.
A former Hanahan High School standout, Ward played for Clemson University from 2007-09. He hit .375 for the Tigers in 2008 and was a two-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll. Ward graduated from Clemson in 2008 with a bachelor’s of science in economics and a master’s degree in economics, also from Clemson. Ward married the former Jessica Tuckman. The couple resides in Mount Pleasant.