Donation goes to the dogs

Some 12,000 stray animals from Charleston County are housed and treated annually at the society’s $11 million facility, which opened three years ago.

COLUMBIA -- What do you call Jerry Meyers, exactly?

Is he South Carolina's "new" pitching coach? Well, no, that doesn't work since Meyers already had the role from 1997-2004.

So that makes him the "old" pitching coach? That's no good, either, since no one wants to be referred to as old.

Maybe Meyers can just rip a page out of Steve Spurrier's playbook and call himself the "head" pitching coach.

In any case, Meyers is happy to be back, after a six-year stint as the head coach at Old Dominion. Since he left, the Gamecocks moved to a new ballpark and won a national championship.

Some things have changed. Pitching has not, however.

"You make yourself a very good coach if you have very good players around you -- and you don't mess them up" said Meyers, reintroduced to the media and fans Monday afternoon. "We're hopefully going to have an opportunity, just like we've had the last several years."

Meyers was able to lure a lot of very talented arms to Columbia in his first tour. What about now that the Gamecocks are in a $35 million stadium and have an NCAA title trophy to show off?

"Who's not going to be interested that we're going out there to recruit?" Meyers said.

Going from a head coaching job back to an assistant would be considered a demotion in most every circumstance. But that certainly isn't the way Meyers looks at things.

He said he's back in Columbia, back in his old gig, because Ray Tanner asked him. He thinks that much of Tanner.

"It's not all about being a head coach," Meyers said. "I'd like to be here for quite some time. I'm not making this step to make another quick step out to another 'better' position.

"I've not made a wrong move yet professionally, and this is not anything but the best move right now for us and, hopefully, for the program."

Meyers, 45, replaces Mark Calvi, who had held the job since Meyers left. Calvi, who left to become the head coach at South Alabama, formed and developed a staff last season that had an Southeastern Conference-best 3.45 ERA. Pitching, anyone on or around the team will tell you, is what won USC the national title, more than anything else.

Meyers, who will also have the assistant head coach title, is looking to pick up where he left off in 2004 -- and where the Gamecocks just left off.

"I'm ecstatic, I'm delighted, to now have him back," Tanner said. "We're delighted to have him back in our family, and we look forward to great things in the future."

The near future figures to hold adjusted contracts for both Tanner and associate head coach Chad Holbrook.

Tanner will be rewarded, and perhaps handsomely, for leading the Gamecocks to the long-awaited championship. Holbrook could be in line for a coach-in-waiting tag, considering Tanner, 52, has said he doesn't want to coach into his 60s.

Both contracts could soon be agreed upon, in principle, pending a vote from the school's board.

Reach Travis Haney at thaney@postandcourier.com, check out the Gamecocks blog at postandcourier.com/blogs/gamecocks and follow him on Twitter (@gamecocksblog).