COLUMBIA — Chad Holbrook, nodding toward South Carolina's new athletic director, said Monday he will wear a WWRD bracelet next year while coaching the Gamecocks' baseball team: What Would Ray Do?

But as hard as it is to replace Tanner, he of the College World Series titles in 2010 and 2011, it is nearly as difficult to replace Holbrook. As South Carolina's recruiting coordinator, Holbrook widely was considered the best in the sport. Most recently, he got lots of national credit for a stellar 2012 newcomer class that helped the Gamecocks get back to Omaha and advance to the College World Series finals.

South Carolina's new head coach addressed the drop-off concern at his introductory news conference. Holbrook, a 1994 University of North Carolina graduate who just completed his fourth season as Tanner's top assistant, said he will remain “out front recruiting” even though assistant Sammy Esposito will replace Holbrook as South Carolina's primary traveling talent scout.

“I'm still on the staff,” Holbrook said at Williams-Brice Stadium, “and I'm going to continue to recruit like crazy. I'm going to continue to coach like crazy. ... I'm going to try my best to emulate (Tanner). I don't think I can, but I'm going to try.”

Holbrook said, “Our first priority will always be to recruit the state of South Carolina.”

The Gamecocks' 2012 freshman class included native contributors Joey Pankake, Grayson Greiner, Jordan Montgomery, Tanner English and Connor Bright (Wando High School). The program for the last three Junes in Omaha has been led by pitchers Michael Roth and Matt Price, both South Carolinians.

Holbrook's contract details will be announced after a Board of Trustees meeting on Aug. 3, Tanner said.

Tanner, in his new suit-and-tie uniform, lauded Holbrook as “a difference maker.” Experts agree; Baseball America's Aaron Fitt tweeted about the “perfect scenario” for South Carolina.

Before coming to Columbia, Holbrook played at North Carolina and was a Tar Heels assistant coach for 15 years. He has been part of College World Series teams six of the last seven years — three apiece with North Carolina and South Carolina — including the two national championships and three runner-up finishes.

Holbrook said he has learned to emphasize pitching.

“That will be probably our main focus (in recruiting),” he said. “If the other team doesn't score many runs, you are in every game.”

South Carolina staff adjustments include pitching coach Jerry Meyers adding the title of associate head coach. Former Gamecock player Brian Buscher, a volunteer assistant coach last season, likely will be added to the staff full-time.

“(Tanner) has given me the blueprint on how to run a college baseball program,” Holbrook said. “Our staff will continue to use that blueprint that Coach Tanner has given me, step by step every step of the way.”

Reach Gene Sapakoff at 953-5593 or on Twitter @sapakoff Holbrook as South Carolina's primary traveling talent scout.

“I'm still on the staff,” Holbrook said at Williams-Brice Stadium, “and I'm going to continue to recruit like crazy. I'm going to continue to coach like crazy. ... I'm going to try my best to emulate (Tanner). I don't think I can, but I'm going to try.”

Holbrook said, “Our first priority will always be to recruit the state of South Carolina.”

The Gamecocks' 2012 freshman class included native contributors Joey Pankake, Grayson Greiner, Jordan Montgomery, Tanner English and Connor Bright (Wando High School). The program for the last three Junes in Omaha has been led by pitchers Michael Roth and Matt Price, both South Carolinians.

Holbrook's contract details will be announced after a Board of Trustees meeting on Aug. 3, Tanner said.

Tanner, in his new suit-and-tie uniform, lauded Holbrook as “a difference maker.” Experts agree; Baseball America's Aaron Fitt tweeted about the “perfect scenario” for South Carolina.

Before coming to Columbia, Holbrook played at North Carolina and was a Tar Heels assistant coach for 15 years. He has been part of College World Series teams six of the last seven years — three apiece with North Carolina and South Carolina — including the two national championships and three runner-up finishes.

Holbrook said he has learned to emphasize pitching.

“That will be probably our main focus (in recruiting),” he said. “If the other team doesn't score many runs, you are in every game.”

South Carolina staff adjustments include pitching coach Jerry Meyers adding the title of associate head coach. Former Gamecock player Brian Buscher, a volunteer assistant coach last season, likely will be added to the staff full-time.

“(Tanner) has given me the blueprint on how to run a college baseball program,” Holbrook said. “Our staff will continue to use that blueprint that Coach Tanner has given me, step by step every step of the way.”

Reach Gene Sapakoff at 953-5593 or on Twitter @sapakoff