Lake enters his seventh season at the helm of his alma mater in 2015 and continues to build a program that looks to compete yearly for a Big South Championship.
A 1994 Charleston Southern alum, Lake guided the Bucs to a 30-win season for the first time in 14 years in 2014. CSU finished the year 30-26 and registered a school-record 20 home wins. The Bucs rallied from a slow start to go 10-5 over their final 15 Big South games, earning a spot in the conference tournament. CSU ripped off eight straight wins from late April into early May, a stretch that included six consecutive league victories and a triumph over then-No. 6 South Carolina before a sold out crowd in Columbia.
Senior Alex Tomasovich and junior Bobby Ison powered the success of Lake's team in 2014, as each earned All-Big South honors before being selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. Tomasovich capped his CSU career as the program leader in doubles, 53, while ranking second in hits, 253. Ison set a CSU single-season record in hits for a second straight year, was the toughest player in the country to strike out, and was on pace to set the school and Big South record for hits had he returned for his senior season.
In Lake’s six seasons as CSU Head Coach, the program and its facilities have seen a complete overhaul.
CSU Ballpark has seen over a half-million dollars in stadium improvements. The biggest upgrade occurred in the spring of 2013 when CSU played its first night game in school history, a 1-0 win over Big South rival Presbyterian College. Other improvements to the Ballpark have included newly-installed season ticket seating, increased general admission seating, a new scoreboard, new major league netting on the backstop and baselines, an Alumni Deck, covered and lighted batting cages, sponsor signage in the outfield, and massive playing surface and drainage system enhancements.
In the fall of 2013, a pavilion was added to enhance fan experience at CSU Ballpark. Plans are already in the works to add a 3,000-square foot baseball locker room and lounge on site, as well as expanded seating for years to come.
The Buccaneers have also experienced plenty of on-field success during Lake's tenure. Over the last half-decade, eleven Buccaneers have been drafted or signed as free agents into pro baseball.
Former Buc, Tyler Thornburg, made his Major League debut in 2012. Thornburg was the 96th overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft and quickly has established himself with the Milwaukee Brewers. Thornburg is one of three Buccaneers to reach the Major Leagues since 2002, while a number of others are making their way through the minor leagues systems. In 2011, Lake was named Big South Coach of the Year following a season in which the Bucs went 15-12 in conference play.
In the classroom, the Bucs have also excelled. In 2012-13, the baseball team had a team GPA of 3.0 and over Lake’s six seasons, he has had six Bucs make the All-Big South Academic teams.
In Lake’s 18-year coaching career, he has coached more than 100 players who have gone on to play professional baseball with 31 of those being drafted in the first 10 rounds. Seven players were drafted in the first round.
Lake has coached three players to be 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.
Lakes has had 24 former student-athletes reach the Major Leagues and Lake is one of the few who can ever claim to coach players 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 at Ole Miss, where he was responsible for the hitters and the outfielders. The Rebels enjoyed three of the school’s most successful seasons in program 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 seasons and advanced to and hosted two NCAA Super Regionals. In 2005, Ole Miss won the Southeastern Conference Western Division and in 2006 team won the SEC Tournament.
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, served as first base coach, 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 Collegiate Wood Bat League in 2000.
Lake earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Charleston Southern in 1994 and his Masters of Arts from the University of South Carolina in 1998. He is married to the former Tracie Smith of Clover, S.C. and they have one son, Hayden. Tracie is an elementary school teacher in Berkeley County and a local high school volleyball head coach. She also is a graduate of the University of South Carolina. The family resides in Goose Creek, S.C. and are proud members of Summit Church on the Charleston Southern campus.