USF Baseball Head Coach Mark Kingston is leaving the program to take the head coaching job at the University of South Carolina. Kingston reportedly interviewed for the position last Thursday and subsequently became the favorite of South Carolina AD Ray Tanner for the job.
Kingston reportedly received a six-year deal worth up to $600,000 annually with incentives. South Carolina will also pay his $150,000 buyout to USF. The news was confirmed through South Carolina Athletics.
South Carolina will formally introduce Kingston in a news conference today at 3 p.m.
After guiding the Bulls to a 42-19 record in 2017 and a second Regional appearance in three years, Kingston seemingly was at the top of every major coaching vacancy in college baseball.
Earlier this month Kingston met with officials at Virginia Tech according to published reports, and had been linked to vacancies at Alabama and Oklahoma previously.
USF will begin an immediate search for his replacement. USF Pitching Coach Billy Mohl and Assistant Coach Mike Current would be considered. Another name likely to surface is FSU Assistant Mike Bell.
In three seasons since coming to USF from Illinois State, Kingston was 100-78-1 and established a new standard of what is possible for USF baseball. He will be sorely missed.
For South Carolina fans, some of whom may be disappointed by his hiring, focus on who he is, and not who he is not.
Kingston is a tireless recruiter with a passion for college baseball that has few rivals. Take the time to take in a Kingston led baseball practice. His attention to detail will amaze you. If you’re a coach or a scout you’ll learn something. If you’re a former player, you’re going to wish you could have played for him. Speak with him as a member of the media and he will win you over.
He is a winner and has won at every coaching stop along his coaching career.
In June of 2014 when he was announced as the new coach, Kingston laid out his plan for making USF a competitive program in college baseball. He has met or exceeded all those promises. He says what he means and means what he says.
Eventually South Carolina is going to love Kingston, all of South Carolina, the same way USF fans have, the same way I do.