COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's top baseball assistant is staying put, officially.

Friday afternoon, the school's board approved a new three-year deal for Gamecocks associate head coach Chad Holbrook, keeping Holbrook at USC through the 2013 season.

The deal is worth $160,000 a year, the school said.

The school initially was offering a two-year deal, but a third year was included to help Holbrook feel secure and important to the program's future.

"This is unheard of for an assistant baseball coach," Holbrook said. "I don't know if anyone could have a better deal than I have as an assistant baseball coach."

There were some overtures from other schools for Holbrook's services after South Carolina won the NCAA championship, and there will be others, but he says he's happy right where he is.

"I could be an assistant coach for a long time here," Holbrook said. "Working for coach (Ray) Tanner is a blast here every day. It couldn't have worked out any better."

With Tanner unsure how much longer he wants to coach, the idea of making Holbrook a "coach-in-waiting" had been kicked around during contract negotiations. In the end, since Tanner's timetable isn't set, the idea didn't make a lot of sense.

However, two sources familiar with the situation told The Post and Courier that Holbrook has been given credible assurances that he will be the next head coach of the team if Tanner does step aside in the near future.

Tanner and USC president Harris Pastides have particularly been strong in their support for Holbrook, who came to the program two years after a successful run as an assistant at North Carolina.

"The neat part about it is president Pastides and (athletic director) Eric Hyman and Ray Tanner want me to be part of the baseball program," said Holbrook, whose wife is from Columbia. "The fact that the leaders of the university want me around; that's the most important thing for me. I never got into the profession because I wanted to get paid."

Holbrook is known in the college baseball world as one of the best recruiters in the country. His offensive philosophies were also very influential in the team's run to the national title.

"We are fortunate to have coach Holbrook as an integral part of our program," Tanner said. "He is an exceptional coach, recruiter and mentor for our players. The job he has done and continues to do is exemplary. He is one of the top coaches in the country and he is an outstanding ambassador for the University of South Carolina."

Tanner's contract should be the next to come before the board, which meets again in September. He's expected to see a significant jump in pay.

The Gamecocks hired Jerry Meyers as their pitching coach earlier in the week. Meyers was the team's pitching coach from 1997-2004, before leaving to take a job at Old Dominion.

Reach Travis Haney at thaney@postandcourier.com and check out his South Carolina blog at www.postandcourier.com/blogs/gamecocks or on Twitter (@gamecocksblog).