The University of South Carolina Salkehatchie Campus has close connections to the Coastal Carolina University baseball program.
CCU Associate Athletic Director for Community Outreach, Jess Dannelly, is the father of the USC Salkehatchie baseball program, originating baseball at the Salkehatchie Campus in 1976- program that is now entering its 40th year. Coach Dannelly went to Coastal to coach women’s softball and has since retired from coaching and moved into administration. “The Salk program and the Coastal program remind me a lot of each other. At both places we don’t have the big money or the recognition of the big programs in our leagues but both programs produce quality, highly competitive baseball by having the right coaches and administrative support in place and creative thinking about fund raising and facilities. There is no better baseball field in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 10 than the one at USC Salkehatchie.”
USC Salkehatchie sent two players on to Coastal: Art Smith and Ken Chandler. Chandler, according to Dannelly, is one of the best catchers to ever play at Coastal and is also a member of the USC Salkehatchie Athletic Hall of Fame. Ken Chandler remembers fondly both his days at USC Salkehatchie and at Coastal. ” when I got to Coastal in 1978, Gary Gilmore was my roommate and teammate. Great guy! He had even back then the drive to be a baseball coach of a winning program. He is a phenomenal coach and he bleeds teal! So proud of him and the Chanticleers!”
But the biggest USC Salkehatchie/Coastal Carolina connection is through current USC Salkehatchie head baseball coach Bubba Dorman.
Coach Dorman was an assistant coach for Coach Gary Gilmore at Coastal Carolina in 2001 and 2002. He was on Coach Gilmore’s staff at Coastal when they made their first trip to the NCAA D1 baseball regionals in 2001. “We played with Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech and UGA at the Regional tournament at UGA. In the last game we were leading going into the 9 th inning but lost by 1 run. People call Coastal a Cinderella team but they’ve been going to Regionals for 20 years. This is just their first trip to Omaha.
“Gary Gilmore is a competitor”, says Dorman. ” Earlier in my career I coached against Coach Gilmore when he was at USC Aiken before Coastal. I could never beat him there. After he left USC Aiken and went on to Coastal, we had no problem beating USC Aiken. I asked him one day why we could never beat him. He laughed and said ‘ Its all about the players, Bubba. If you get the right players you can’t be beaten.’
Coach Dorman goes on to say “Coach Gilmore always says there are three kinds of teams that can win. You either have to have a team full of great baseball players or a team who are not great baseball players but are great athletes and win through sheer physical ability or you have to have a team that is mentally tough that refuses to lose and always finds a way to win.”
Says Dorman. “At Coastal this year Gilmore’s team is all 3.”