CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers received a grand welcome back after winning the national championship at the College World Series Thursday in Omaha.
The welcome home motorcade kicked off at 1:30 p.m., with a route through downtown Conway, where hundreds of CCU fans lined the streets to greet the returning team, who were escorted by several emergency vehicles. Players high-fived fans from their buses as they slowly drove through downtown.
Fans arrived early to claim their spots along Main Street. Many from Conway said this was more than just a baseball game.
"It was great when the Gamecocks won it twice. But this is our college, this is Conway, not Myrtle Beach. (It's) Conway's campus and that means a lot to a small town," one fan said.
The team continued on to CCU and arrived at the main entrance of the TD Sports Complex on West Chanticleer Drive around 2 p.m. There, hundreds more fans packed Brooks Stadium and went wild as the players took the field and celebrated their victory with the NCAA National Championship trophy.
"These young men have made a dream of mine come true," Coach Gary Gilmore said before the crowd. "This is the greatest thing that's happened to me in all my life. Let's keep it going."
CCU Athletic Director Matt Hogue recognized all players on the CWS-winning Chants team. State Sen. Luke Rankin and CCU President David A. DeCenzo also spoke to crowd about the team's amazing victory, and several CCU players spoke as well.
DeCenzo also commended the team for having the highest grade point average of any team in the College World Series. He said the official CCU website also received over 500,000 hits after the final game.
For those looking for a College World Series Champion T-shirt, Native Sons and Lids has them in stock. CCU's online store has them as well as Dick's Sporting Goods online.
Local stores in Conway said they should have them in stock soon, but CCU gear is flying off the shelves right now.