/If Coastal Carolina can do it, so can Mississippi

If Coastal Carolina can do it, so can Mississippi

It could have occurred this year, last or even the year before. It might happen next year. Why can’t Coastal Carolina do it? Little Coastal Carolina won the 2016 College World Series in storybook fashion. It had never played in a College World Series before and was the first team to win it. They beat Arizona in the losers bracket. This is Coastal Carolina. It was ranked below Mississippi State and Ole Miss, and just ahead Southern Miss in power ratings at end of regular season. This is Coastal Carolina with approximately 9,000 students and an average attendance of 1,500 baseball games. This is Coastal Carolina. It is currently moving from the Big South Conference up to the Sun Belt. This is Coastal Carolina. It was once a feeder college for South Carolina junior colleges. These are the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. They have had sports fans, journalists, and sportscasters in full Google mode trying to figure out what a Chanticleer is. A Chanticleer (pronounced SHON-tie-cleer) is a proud, fierce rooster. As you probably wondered, why would a school choose to have a Chanticleer as its mascot? It’s a fascinating story. The original name of the Coastal Carolina team was Trojans. School officials and students desired something more aligned with the school’s parent school, South Carolina. The Gamecocks are the school’s teams. Both Chanticleers as well as Gamecocks are roosters. There you have it. Almost. The selection of Coastal’s new mascot name was made by an English professor. An English professor was a big fan of Geoffrey Chaucer (the 14th-century poet, often called the father of English literature). Chaucer wrote about Chanticleer, in The Canterbury Tales. This was the book that your junior high teacher forced you to read, and which you have since forgotten. That’s why our national champion baseball team is called the Chanticleers or Chants. Let me get back to the original point. The first national champion in Mississippi Division I will probably be in baseball. Mississippi has the facilities. They have winning traditions. They have the support. Mississippi junior college and high school baseball are excellent sources of recruiting. State reached the final series in 2013. Coastal Carolina’s Cinderella story reminded me of Southern Miss’s College World Series visit to 2009. Coastal had to beat LSU, a SEC powerhouse in the Super Regional. USM needed to win at Florida. Both teams were making their debuts in the CWS. Both Coastal and the 2009 USM team were coached in a popular way by veteran coaches (Corky Parker at USM, Gary Gilmore for Coastal). Both teams were openly opposed by heavily favoured teams in the World Series. Coastal edged Florida 2-1. Southern Miss was ranked No. Before losing 7-6, Texas was ranked No. 1. That’s baseball. Southern Miss could have won the 2009 championship if it had been hotter. The same goes for State 2013 and Ole Miss 2014. It’s all about being your best in baseball at the most crucial time. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a stadium with 100,000 seats. You don’t need to have a team with 5-star recruits. Most of these people go on to become professional. You don’t have to be a good-coached team. The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers are an example. Rick Cleveland writes a weekly sports column running Fridays at Mississippitoday.org. To support this work, make a regular donation today to celebrate our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this story.