When Coastal Carolina University beat TCU in the College World Series last Thursday, we all had a laugh as Jake Arrieta – the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner – lost a bet with his teammate and prepared to get a tattoo of the CCU letters on his back.
But maybe we didn’t give enough attention to the players and coaches of CCU, who then went on to win the whole thing, finishing one of the most underdog seasons ever. Indeed, the 10,000 student CCU has not only never won a baseball championship before, they haven’t won a championship in any sport, until now. They have done well for themselves in the past, reaching the NCAA tournament 14 times, but could never really hang with the big dogs/power baseball programs of the rest of the NCAA.
The story is captured perfectly, in head coach Gary Gilmore’s post-game comments:
"We're not the most talented team in America. We're just the champions."@CoastalBaseball head coach Gary Gilmore
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) June 30, 2016
That is brilliant quote and an even better sentiment. Sometimes, you don’t have to be the best team in the league, to take it all home at the end, you just have to be the right one. And every right team needs the right leader. Gary Gilmore may be just that. Check out how emotional and proud he became in his post game comments, and you’ll immediately see his dedication to bringing his team all the way:
— Bill Jones (@CBS11BillJones) June 30, 2016
Gilmore, you should note, played for CCU back in the day, before coming back on as a coach in 1996. In his 20th season as the Chanticleers skipper, he finally brought it all home. Congrats, coach. You’ve earned it.