Charleston Southern made a major commitment to its baseball program and head coach Stuart Lake on Thursday, signing the coach to a four-year contract extension that will keep Lake as head coach through 2019.
The extension is a year longer than the one Lake received three years ago. Lake, a CSU graduate and former player, just completed his sixth season as head coach. He ranks third in school history with 134 victories and CSU won 30 games in 2014, the most for the program since 2000. Included in those wins was a victory over sixth-ranked South Carolina.
"I am very grateful and very excited at the level of commitment our administration has shown and this will certainly allow us to continue to grow our program and compete at the highest level," said Lake. "We have accomplished a great deal in recent years in terms of making our facility a top-notch baseball stadium and we still have things we want to get done. This commitment from the University will allow us to accomplish our goals."
Lake, the 2011 Big South Coach of the Year, has guided the Bucs to consecutive third-place finishes in the conference's South Division. He also has set the stage for a number of players to play professionally, including a pair of players - Alex Tomasovich and Bobby Ison - this year.
"The success of CSU's Baseball program and the excitement of our fan base is directly related to the outstanding leadership of Coach Lake," Dr. Rick Brewer, Vice President for Student Affairs & Athletics said. "Stuart's passion for the game and student-athlete development has significantly raised the expectations for our baseball program. Indeed, we expect to compete annually for Big South Conference championships and NCAA tournament berths. The university community is pleased Coach Lake will continue to lead our program in the years ahead."
In addition to raising the level of play on the field, Lake has spearheaded facility improvements at CSU Ballpark. The stadium recently added lights, an alumni deck, lighted batting cages and playing surface enhancements.
Up next for the stadium is an onsite team locker room and meeting rooms. Currently, CSU's baseball locker room is in the school's field house, which is several hundred yards from the baseball stadium.
"That's the big thing for us now and that will make a huge difference in recruiting," said Lake. "Our league is ever-changing. Schools are doing a lot of things to make their facilities more attractive to prospects. This commitment from the University allows us to keep up."