Stuart Lake Head Coach
Alma Mater: CSU, '94
Office Phone: (843) 863-7591
Stuart Lake enters his sixth season at the helm of his alma mater in 2014 and continues to build a program that should contend for the Big South Conference title for years to come.
CSU finished the 2012 season at 20-35 and 11-13 in Big South play, but saw freshmen Bobby Ison and Chase Shelton excel en route to earning spots on the conference’s all-freshmen team. Ison hit safely in the first 13 games of his collegiate career and finished the year as the club’s leader in hits, runs, and stolen bases, while Shelton provided pop in the middle of the order and paced the Bucs with four homers, 13 doubles and 29 RBI. Fellow freshman Robbie Streett also came on strong during league play under Lake’s tutelage, as he finished the year batting .342 with a .491 slugging percentage, two home runs, 11 doubles, and 13 RBI.
On the mound, senior Charlie McCready continued to a reliable arm for Lake and CSU as the southpaw notched two complete games and compiled a 3.33 ERA. Off the field, McCready also continued to succeed as he was named to the Big South All-Academic Team and won the 2012 CSU Hunter Cup thanks to a 3.94 GPA in kinesiology.
After testing themselves against a tough out-of-conference slate which included matchups with two-time defending national champion South Carolina, Clemson, College of Charleston, Southern Mississippi, Auburn, and Purdue, CSU continued to improve in Big South action. The Bucs enjoyed dramatic one-run victories over High Point and Campbell, and captured series wins against UNC Asheville, Gardner-Webb, Winthrop and VMI.
Aside from the season itself, Lake and the CSU program also received a thrill when former Buc standout Tyler Thornburg made his major league debut with the Milwaukee Brewers. The 2010 3rd round pick broke into the bigs on June 19 versus the Milwaukee Brewers, logging a no-decision while yielding five runs on seven hits over 5.1 innings. He notched two strikeouts.
In 2011, Big South Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Buccaneers to a 15-12 conference mark and 29 wins overall, an improvement of 12 victories.
Lake saw the graduation of 11 experienced seniors, including the school's all-time hit leader, first baseman Nick Chinners. Junior pitcher Ali Williams was drafted by the Kansas City Royals and signed his professional contract while pitcher Stew Brase and outfielder Brantley Meier earned opportunities to play professionally as well.
While building a competitive team on the field, Lake also has helped lead the way to major improvements in the program's facilities. The coach has energized a group of former players and together the effort has led to increased seating capacity at Buccaneer field, improvements in dugouts and backstops, and a covered batting cage facility.
In the near future, Lake and the Buccaneers hope to play the first-ever night baseball game on campus as a major fundraising effort to light Buccaneer field is well underway.
In 2010, Lake piloted the Bucs to a 17-38 record with impressive wins over #25 The Citadel and Virginia Commonwealth, as well as Big South foes #28 VMI and Presbyterian. CSU also had strong showings against some of the nation’s top teams, including #8 Coastal Carolina, #6 Florida and the eventual national champions #7 South Carolina.
Pitcher Tyler Thornburg capped off a stellar season by being named to the All-Conference Second Team. He was then selected in third round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. Teammate Nick Chinners, who returns for his senior season in 2011, was also named to the All-Conference Second Team after finishing 2010 ranked second in the Big South in batting average (.485).
In Lake’s first season as the CSU skipper, the Buccaneers went 16-37 and posted a 10-16 mark in Big South Conference play. Highlights of the season included season-series victories over BSC foes UNC Asheville, VMI and Radford. Pitchers Jesse Cadenhead and Brandon Roberts earned BSC Pitcher of the Week honors, while senior Mark Perry was a member of the BSC All-Academic team.
In Lake’s 15-year coaching career, he has coached more than 75 players who have gone on to play professional baseball with 31 of those being drafted in the first 10 rounds. Seven of those 13 were drafted in the first round. Three of his players have been named SEC Player of the Year and one named Southern Conference Player of the Year. Two of his players have been named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List with one winning that coveted award. Lake has had 10 former athletes reach the Major League and Lake is one of the few who can ever claim to coach a player that eventually appeared in the Major League All-Star Game, World Series and the Super Bowl.
In 2008, Lake became the third CSU/Baptist College graduate to coach the Buccaneers, following in the footsteps of Ralph Ciabattari and Jamie Futrell. Prior to his arrival at CSU, Lake spent two years across town as an assistant for The Citadel Baseball program, where he was responsible for coaching the hitters and outfielders, and was very involved in recruiting prospective student-athletes.
Lake also spent three seasons as an assistant for the Ole Miss Rebels, where he was responsible for the hitters and outfielders. Ole Miss enjoyed three of the school’s most successful seasons in history with 39 wins in 2004, 47 in 2005 and 44 in 2006. The Rebels hosted an NCAA Regional in all three of Lake’s years, as well as two NCAA Super Regionals. The 2005 edition of the Ole Miss ball club won the Southeastern Conference Western Division and the 2006 team won the SEC Tournament Championship.
In Lake’s first year at Ole Miss, the Rebels offense belted 14 more home runs than in the previous year and the team’s .444 slugging percentage was 33 points higher than the year before. In addition, the Rebels topped the 600-hit mark with 614 base hits.
In the 2005 season, the Rebels continued to improve offensively, producing more than 750 hits, scoring more than 500 runs and driving in 462 runs on the way to claiming the SEC Western Division title, the program’s first in 23 seasons. The Rebels also had six hitters hit over the .300 mark that year.
The 2006 season witnessed Ole Miss lead the extremely tough SEC in hitting as the Rebels batted at the .309 clip for the year and four Rebels finished in the top eight in the SEC in total hits for the season. The Ole Miss offense produced more than 700 hits for the second straight season as the Rebels won the SEC Tournament on its way to a second straight NCAA Super Regional.
Prior to his stint at Ole Miss, Lake spent one season at the College of Charleston. In his only year with the Cougars, Lake served as third base coach, hitting instructor and outfield coach.
Lake began his collegiate coaching career at South Carolina in 1999, where he coached the outfielders, coached first base and assisted with the hitters. During his time at USC, the Gamecocks won three SEC East Division titles, two SEC Championships, played in three NCAA Super Regionals and reached the College World Series Championship Game in 2002. Lake helped two SEC Player of the Year winners during his stint as a Gamecock. One of those players, Kip Bouknight, was also the 2002 Golden Spikes Award Winner.
Prior to his collegiate coaching career, Lake coached at Mid Carolina High School (his alma mater) and at Brookland Cayce High School in Columbia. Brookland Cayce won the AAA State Championship in Lake’s second year in 1998. Lake also served as the head coach of the Edenton Steamers of the Coastal Plain League in 2000.
Lake is married to the former Tracie Smith of Clover, S.C. The couple has one son, Hayden.