“We’re not the most talented team in America, we’re just the National Champions.” – Coastal Carolina Head Coach, Gary Gilmore on winning the 2016 National Championship
The 2018 Super Regionals lived up to their billing and then some. Come-from-behind victories, back-and-forth battles, and an extra-inning walk-off home run to send defending champion Florida back to Omaha to cap off what was a wild weekend. It’s hard to imagine how the College World Series will match the intensity and excitement of the last two weekends of D1 baseball, but Omaha will have something up its sleeve. As 8 teams battle it out for the D1 baseball crown, we thought we would share some lessons from Coastal Carolina’s magical run to the top of college baseball two years ago. Will our top 3 lessons from the 2016 champion be relevant to this year’s contenders? Keep reading to find out!
- Have fun and play with enthusiasm! The longer the games lasted, the more energy Coastal played with. It was incredible how hard they played and how much they enjoyed their time on the field. Even when the fans’ heartbeats quickened, Coastal was calm, cool and collected. Rather than panicking, players seemed to have even more fun and energy in the big moments! When things get tense, it’s important to remember that those moments are the reason why you are striving to play at the highest level. Weeks down the road, no one will remember those who faltered or faded into the background. They will remember those who rose to the top. You have nothing to lose, so go for it!
- Never give up! Coastal was down to their final strike in the regional. Then they were the underdog in a very difficult super regional at LSU. Finally they were faced with 5 elimination games in the CWS. No matter what the situation was, they believed they could overcome adversity and they never gave up. Believing that you will win doesn’t guarantee that it will happen, but the opposite almost certainly guarantees failure. Believing in yourself and your team is where success begins and ends.
- Recognize that team achievements can be greater than the “sum of the parts.” As the lead quote from Coastal head coach Gary Gilmore shows, the Coastal players and coaches in 2016 were not ashamed to admit that they performed beyond their talent and outperformed teams that had more individually talented players. While they played, it was evident how much the Coastal players and coaches cared for each other. They poured out of the dugout to pick each other up, got excited for each other’s successes, and were willing to sacrifice individual accolades and roles for the betterment of the team. It was a selfless group with team chemistry off the charts and it paid off in the biggest way.
Perhaps nothing reflects the spirit of the 2016 Coastal team more than their will to win, summarized perfectly by Coach Gilmore’s quote: “Whenever I die, I’ll know that this group of guys here, they willed themselves to be national champions, they truly did.”
Who is going to will their way to the top this year? No one knows, but if you learn from these 3 lessons, you may find yourself playing for a championship team sometime soon.