Five years later: Chants reflect on national championship

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 11:48 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - June 30, 2016. A day Coastal Carolina fans will never forget. On this day five years ago, the Chanticleer baseball team completed an improbable run at the College World Series to win the school’s first national title.

The championship left a lasting effect on the baseball program, the university, and the entire Grand Strand. A few members of the championship squad spoke with WMBF News and reflected on what it meant to put the Coastal brand on the map.

“Not only was that such a special moment for our team and the guys in that locker room and our families, I think it was such a special thing to see the Conway and Myrtle Beach area rally around us,” said former CCU baseball player and 2016 Big South Player of the Year Connor Owings.”

“The trickle down effect from actually winning on the big stage like that with the Florida’s the LSU’s and all of those teams who are perennial powerhouses was great,” said former Chant Alex Cunningham.

“That’s the goal of any team, leave it better than how you found it,” said AJ Marks, who is currently an assistant coach at Gardner-Webb. “We were very fortunate that the teams before us left it better than they found it to even give us that platform to be able to perform on that stage and get the respect.”

“Going into that year, who ever thought we would do what we did? It was a great time,” said Conway native G.K. Young. “It was wonderful for the school. Look at how much our school has expanded. So many people have started to come to that school because of that championship. It’s crazy.”

The historic run in Omaha also changed the lives of many, especially the ones of the young men who helped bring the championship to Conway.

“It goes back to the relationships,” said Owings. “Being able to build new relationships with fans and people in the area that I might not have ever met if it wasn’t for not being attached with Coastal Carolina baseball and our national title. I think that’s the best part about it.”

“It definitely helped me get my foot into the coaching world and where I want to be,” Marks said. “I’m trying to pass along everything that I’ve learned from the coaches at Coastal and try to keep doing that for as long as I can and stay passionate and bring good energy.”

“I’ve started my own business,” said Young, owner of Coastal Power Washing. “Having those contacts especially starting your own business, it really helped me out when I started doing what I’m doing now with pressure washing. It’s just been a blessing.”

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