The Charlotte 49ers didn’t go far to find a new baseball coach.
Robert Woodard, a native of Charlotte who went on to become a star pitcher at North Carolina, will lead the 49ers, the school announced Saturday. Woodard replaces Loren Hibbs, who retired earlier this month after 27 years.
Woodard, who played at Myers Park before becoming the Tar Heels’ career leader in wins (34), has been UNC’s pitching coach for the past three seasons.
“This is a day I’ve dreamed about and prepared for,” Woodard said in a statement. “Coach Hibbs has built a great foundation here and we will expect to be excellent in everything we do. I can’t wait to get started.”
Woodard also has experience at UNC Wilmington and Virginia Tech, where he was those programs’ pitching coach.
“I knew when Robert was pitching for us that he would one day be a great coach,” North Carolina coach Mike Fox said in a statement. “He was not only one of the best pitchers we have ever had at UNC but one of the smartest. He studied the game on a daily basis. He is passionate about the game but, more importantly, about the players and staff. He is a great person who knows the true meaning of being a coach.
“Woody helped our program tremendously these last three years in many ways and I will always be grateful for that. He told everyone when he arrived here we were going to Omaha. He willed us there and the program has not been the same since. I owe him big time for that alone. I am very happy for him and know he will do great things at Charlotte.”
Woodard had a 34-5 record as a pitcher with the Tar Heels and never lost a game at home, where he was 22-0. He played on Tar Heels teams that reached the College World Series in 2006 and ‘07. A three-time, all-ACC pitcher, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres and spent three seasons in their organization before moving into the college-coaching ranks.
“Charlotte is home for me,” Woodard said. “It’s where I grew up and my parents still reside. The opportunity to lead my hometown city’s college baseball program is truly special. “