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Matt Williams

Matt Williams

Matt Williams was hired as the University of South Carolina baseball team’s pitching coach on June 20, 2023.

Williams has seen 35 pitchers sign professional contracts while five of his former pitchers have gone on to make their Major League debuts and pitch in the majors. During his time as a pitching coach, he has had four pitchers go on to win Conference Pitcher of the Year and numerous others go on to win All-Conference honors.

Williams, who has spent 18 years as a collegiate pitching coach, comes to the Gamecocks after four seasons as the associate head coach/pitching coach at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Under Williams’ tutelage, the Flames advanced to the NCAA Gainesville Regional in 2022 after earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, concluding the season with a 37-23 record, an ASUN East Division crown. Liberty was among the nation’s top teams in strikeouts in 2022, averaging 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings (15th in the NCAA) and eclipsing the program’s single-season record with 620 strikeouts. In addition, the Flames were 19th in the country in strikeout to walk ratio (2.79) and 32nd in ERA (4.29) in 2022. Not only did Liberty lead the ASUN Conference in those categories, but the Flames also led the conference in runs allowed per game (5.0).

Left-hander Garrett Horn was named to both the 2022 Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA Freshman All-American teams, after moving into the Friday night starter spot in the Liberty rotation and flourishing. The left-hander posted a 6-1 mark with a 1.93 ERA, the lowest by a freshman and the fifth all-time in program history by a pitcher with 50 more innings pitched in a single season. Joe Adametz III joined Horn on the ASUN All-Conference team. After leading the conference with a 2.51 ERA, Adametz III was selected to the all-conference first team. The left-hander posted a 6-3 record with 84 strikeouts and 25 walks over 86 innings. He finished the year second in the conference in wins and fourth in strikeouts.

His first full season with the Flames, 2021 was arguably the most successful in Liberty Baseball history. With the pitching staff leading the way, Liberty secured an NCAA at-large bid for just the second time in program history while Liberty’s 41-16 (.719) record set the school mark for winning percentage in a season at the NCAA Division I level. After starting 2-5, the Flames did not lose consecutive games during the rest of the 2021 campaign. The Flames pitching staff was among the national leaders in several categories in 2021. Liberty finished the year fifth in the country in runs allowed per game (3.6), 12th in ERA (3.57), ninth in WHIP (1.22), 15th in shutouts (6) and 13th in hits allowed per nine innings (7.60). Along with the above, the Flames pitching also topped the ASUN Conference in innings pitched (501.0), strikeouts (487) and saves (15).

Left-hander and Friday night starter Trevor DeLaite led the pitching staff, becoming the first pitcher in program history to be named a National Pitcher of the Year finalist and earn All-American honors. DeLaite recorded the most wins in school history with a 12-1 record and posted a 2.18 ERA, en route to ASUN Pitcher of the Year honors. ASUN Freshman of the Year Trey Gibson also was another Williams’ pupil to earn national recognition. Both Collegiate Baseball and D1 Baseball recognized the right-hander with inclusion on their Freshman All-American first teams. In July, the Chicago White Sox selected left-hander Fraser Ellard in the eighth round of the 2021 MLB Draft.

Despite the shortened season of 2020, the pitching staff was already making strides under Williams in his first year at Liberty. Flames pitchers Joe Adametz (1.59) and Noah Skirrow (1.96) were off to a strong start to the year, posting below 2.00 ERAs. Skirrow later signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

In 2019 Williams worked in a couple of different roles with the San Diego Padres. He began as an International Crosschecker before transitioning into the role of pitching coach at Fort Wayne (Ind.) the Midwest League Affiliate of the Padres. In Fort Wayne, he would help what was the youngest staff in the league grow. A staff that had All-Stars LHP Joey Cantillo, LHP Ryan Weathers, and RHP Henry Henry. Cantillo would go on to lead the league in wins, era, and strikeouts, winning the Midwest League Pitcher of the Year. RHP Gabe Mosser had the best strikeout to walk ratio (6.3) in the league before earning a second-half promotion.

In five seasons as the pitching coach at UNCW, he helped lead the Seahawks to record-setting success on the mound. He worked with 17 pitchers that would hear their names selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.

Williams coached three Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year in Mat Batts (2014), Ryan Foster (2016), and Alex Royalty (2017). Batts led the CAA with 105 strikeouts while posting a career-low era (2.69) during his senior campaign. Foster became the all-time single season wins leader (13) posting a career-low (2.46) era in his final year. Royalty followed up a CAA All-Rookie Selection with CAA Pitcher of the Year leading the league in wins (9), innings pitched (98.1), and strikeouts (106).

In 2018, Seahawk hurlers pitched at a 3.50 clip while resetting the strikeout record for the 2nd time under Williams’ guidance with 541 strikeouts. The Seahawks appeared in the NCAA Regional Championship in the Greenville Regional. Austin Warren, a (6th round) selection of the Los Angeles Angels, had a career-low era 1.75 in 28 appearances out of the bullpen. Alex Royalty led the staff with a career-high 17 starts and was a (8th round) pick of the Cleveland Indians. Clark Cota, the team’s closer and a finalist for NCBWA National Stopper of the Year, tied the all-time single season saves record with 13. Cota went on to be selected in the (10th round) by the Oakland Athletics. Austin Easter who ranks 5th all-time in appearances with 89 at UNCW was a (31st round) selection of the Toronto Blue Jays. Warren, Royalty, and Cota were all named to the CAA 1st team All-Tournament.

In 2017, along with Royalty’s accolades, Zarion Sharpe was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team posting a 6-1 record in 11 starts. Jr. Josh Roberson signed after being selected by the Miami Marlins in the 12th round of the Major League Draft.

In 2016, Foster the CAA Pitcher of the Year finished second nationally while setting a school record for victories in a season with 13. He also tossed his second career NCAA Regional complete game vs Duke in the Columbia SC Regional in which the Seahawks finished runner-up. Freshman Alex Royalty was selected to the CAA All-Rookie Team going 8-2. Sophomore Austin Magestro was a third-team All-CAA selection in which he had a 5-3 record with 3 saves while posting a 2.59 era and striking out 66 in 48.2 innings. Sr. Jared Gesell finished the season second on the single season strikeouts per nine innings (12.53) in UNCW history.

Taylor Hyssong (8th round) and Gesell (23rd round) were selected in the 2016 Major League draft by the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies respectively.

In 2015, the Seahawks set the school record with 493 strikeouts, a record that stood for twelve years. In the Baton Rouge, La. Regional, Seahawk pitchers limited LSU and Tulane to a 2.48 era and opponent batting average of .238 while dropping games to LSU 2-0 twice. Senior Jordan Ramsey transitioned to the bullpen where he led the staff with an 8-2 record and seven saves while pacing the league with 28 appearances. Ramsey was selected first-team All-CAA and earned ABCA All-American honors while posting a career-low ERA (1.69) in his senior year. Four pitchers, two starters and two bullpen arms were selected in the 2015 Major League Draft. Ramsey was chosen by the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh round, Evan Phillips in the 17th round by the Atlanta Braves, Nick Monroe by the San Diego Padres in the 21st round and the Baltimore Orioles took Will Shepley ten rounds later in the 31st.

In 2014, his first year with the Seahawks, Mat Batts was selected CAA Pitcher of the Year posting a career-low ERA of 2.69 in 103.2 innings pitched. Senior Kelly Secrest also posted a career-low 1.73 era in 25 appearances with 8 saves. Four Seahawks were taken in the 2014 Major League Draft with Secrest going in the 10th round to the New York Mets, Batts in the 17th round with the Minnesota Twins, fellow Sr. Christian MacDonald to the Miami Marlins in the 25th round and Jordan Ramsey was selected by the New York Yankees in the 32nd round.

Prior to UNCW, Williams worked eight years as the Pitching Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Junior College Power Spartanburg Methodist where he helped the Pioneers make four trips (2007,2009,2012,2013) to the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction Colorado. In 2013 the Pioneers reached the number 1 ranking while going 48-15. Each year his pitching staff ranked in the top 35 Nationally. During his eight-year stint, Williams helped 34 pitchers move on to play at the Division I level.

In 2010 Williams served as the manager, for his former pitching coach Noah Crane, of the Laconia Muskrats in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. In Laconia’s first year Williams helped lead the franchise to a spot in the NECBL playoffs.

Williams began his coaching career assisting Tim Wallace (Spartanburg Methodist Head Coach) with Spartanburg American Legion Post 28 where they went on to win two state championships and have two regional appearances in three years as an assistant. Williams spent one summer as the Head Coach of Post 28 helping led them to a playoff berth. In the summers Williams also helped coach two summers with the South Carolina-based Diamond Devils Travel Team.

Williams prepped at Lancaster High School (S.C.) before moving on to Spartanburg Methodist College where he helped his sophomore class to 101 victories in two years and a trip to the NJCAA World Series. He also had a stint in Independent Baseball with the Mid Missouri Mavericks of the Frontier League. Williams is a graduate of Limestone College with a degree in Liberal Studies.

Williams and his wife, Denton have a two-year old son, Calahan.