McGuire played at South Carolina from 1992-’93
The Clemson Regional might be the first time players of the Morehead State roster have played at Clemson, but it’s not the first time for their head coach.
Mike McGuire, now in his sixth season at Morehead State, has played and coached as much as anyone outside the Atlantic Coast Conference the last 26 years. McGuire first played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, known as Tiger Field at the time, in 1992 as a player for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Coincidently, it turned out to be Bill Wilhelm’s 1,100th victory as Clemson’s head coach as the Tigers downed the Gamecocks 5-3 in a midweek game in April.
“Back then we played four times a year,” McGuire said. “Two games at home and two games here in the midweek. I remember the long mid-week road trips home. It seemed like during that time the home team seemed to win.”
The Tigers did.
Clemson was 4-0 against McGuire and the Gamecocks at Tiger Field in Clemson, while they were 1-2 in Columbia at old Sarge Frye Field. However, playing in the Clemson-Carolina game gave him a sense of how special the rivalry is and how much it means to everyone in the state of South Carolina.
“Obviously, I grew up from Ohio so I did not know the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry,” McGuire said. “I transferred to South Carolina my junior year and I was fortunate enough to play on two regional teams there, but I learned quickly that this Clemson-South Carolina rivalry is a pretty big deal.
“I compare, growing up as an Ohio kid, I compare it to the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. There are a lot of similarities to that.”
McGuire and the teams his has coached at since his South Carolina days have not fared much better. The teams he has coached are 2-5 vs. Clemson, including two losses by his first Morehead State team in 2013, the last time the Eagles came to Clemson.
The Tigers won those two games, 10-5 and 5-2, back on March 19-20 that season. Morehead State, who will play Clemson in Game 2 on Friday in the Clemson Regional at 6 p.m., is 0-5 all-time at Clemson.
“It is a great tradition and fan base,” Morehead State infielder Braxton Morris said about playing Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. “The atmosphere and the surrounding is not something we play in every single day, but we are excited for the opportunity to be here and to get to experience it. But, also we get to show off our talent as well in this atmosphere and in front of these fans. Just kind of show the world how we play our game and kind of take it all in.”