Aug. 25, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina head coach Beverly Smith today adds former Gamecock All-American Tina Plew Whitlock to her coaching staff as a volunteer assistant for the 2015-16 academic year.
The two-time NFCA All-American holds South Carolina’s career record for at-bats (872), doubles (58) and sacrifice flies (16) from a four-year career that spanned 1994-97. A four-time All-Region honoree, Plew led the 1995 Gamecocks in batting average, hits, doubles, triples and total bases en route to third-team All-America accolades. Two years later, she topped the squad in at-bats, triples, total bases, slugging percentage and RBI while also ranking as the toughest Gamecock to strike out in her second-team All-America season. She helped South Carolina to an NCAA record 38-game winning streak and the 1997 NCAA Women’s College World Series.
“I am so excited that we can bring one of our greats back into the fold of the Carolina Softball staff,” said Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith. “Tina has a tremendous history here playing on the ’97 World Series team, and I am excited about the passion she has for Gamecock softball. Tina brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position.”
Plew Whitlock also played professionally for a year with the Durham Dragons in the WPSL while also training with the US National Team from 1997 to 2000.
“It has been 18 years since I dressed out for South Carolina,” said Plew Whitlock, “and my senior year was the first year of SEC softball. My time here prepared me for everything that unfolded in my life since I graduated. It also provided me with all the resources I would need to come full circle with my career. I am most grateful for the opportunity that Coach Smith and the South Carolina Athletics Department have provided for me. I wholeheartedly embrace the mission of Gamecock Athletics and will utilize my experience and wisdom gained for the betterment of the program.”
When she transitioned into coaching in 1999, Plew Whitlock worked for a year as an assistant coach at both USC Upstate and Chattanooga, helping the Mocs make the 2000 NCAA Tournament. After spending the next six seasons coaching at the high school level, she returned to the college ranks in 2007 as an assistant at Mercer. She went from Macon, Ga., to Syracuse, N.Y., taking over the reigns at Le Moyne College in the fall of 2008. She led the Dolphins to the 2009 NCAA Division II Tournament, coaching Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year Jennifer Farrelly and third-team NFCA All-American Jenna Vanacore. In her four years, Whitlock’s teams went 115-90-1 (.561), and her students earned five first-team All-Northeast-10 Conference honors and 17 all-league nods overall.
After Le Moyne, Plew Whitlock returned to South Carolina, coaching the past three years at Lander.
Plew Whitlock graduated from South Carolina with a degree in psychology in 1997 before earning her master’s in teaching at Converse College in 2000. She has two teenage sons, Aaron and Brian.
“My family and I have received a warm welcome back from the community, and we look forward to experiencing all Gamecock traditions,” said Plew Whitlock.
The Gamecocks have been to three-consecutive NCAA Tournaments, ranking as the only SEC team to improve its win total in each of the last three seasons. First-team NFCA All-American Alaynie Page leads the group of returners from last year’s 38-22 team, while two position starters as well as pitcher Julie Sarratt depart from the squad.
“Coach Smith and her staff have inspired this special group of students to achieve goals reflective of the awesomeness of Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field,” remarked Plew Whitlock. “I am more than thrilled to once again be a part of the journey and pursuit of a championship with Gamecock softball.”
Plew Whitlock replaces Kaela Jackson, who took a full-time assistant coaching role at Michigan State.