Former Gamecock standout named NGU baseball coach

The North Greenville baseball team got its newest head skipper on Friday morning, as president Jimmy Epting and athletic director Jan McDonald announced that former University of South Carolina standout, and retired major leaguer Landon Powell would take the reigns of the NGU baseball program.

Powell, a native of Apex, North Carolina, was rated the second best high school baseball player in the draft by Baseball America. He enrolled at the University of South Carolina where he played four seasons of collegiate baseball. Powell was one of the leading offensive threats for the Gamecocks finishing with a career batting average of .306 as a switch-hitting catcher, with 44 homeruns, 61 doubles, and 193 RBI. The team captain also earned multiple All-American nods, including his senior season when he was given five All-American nods, as well as an All-South Eastern Conference honor.

The former College World Series All-Tournament team honoree holds South Carolina records for a catcher in career putouts (1,768) and assists (190), and ranked third all-time in Gamecock history in games played (251), including 242 as a catcher.  He also ranks second all-time in doubles (61), is tied for third in at bats (866), and stands fourth in both hits (265) and total bases (468), and fifth in home runs (44).

Landon Powell was drafted in the first round, 24th overall in the 2004 Major League Baseball draft by the Athletics of Oakland California. Powell batted .207 in his major league career, with 13 homeruns and 59 RBI. One of Powell’s career baseball highlights came in May of 2010, where he caught Dallas Braden’s perfect game for the Athletics. Powell also had brief stints with the Houston Astros in 2012, and the New York Mets in 2013.

Powell retired from playing baseball in June and landed his first coaching stint at Furman University. His responsibilities at Furman include hitting instructor, as well as interim pitching coach.

“I just want to thank Dr. Epting, for this opportunity. Its awesome to have a platform like this at North Greenville. Baseball and the Gospel don’t meet up in a lot of ways, and its nice to be able to have two things that I love,” remarked Powell. “My father used to tell me, baseball is vehicle not a destination. It isn’t about where baseball can take you, it’s about what it teaches you.”

“The purpose for us having baseball, or any sport, is for one more to get saved. We want to lure a lot of baseball players here, and get one more saved, and then we want to win national championships, and Landon is coming here to be sure that happens," said Epting.

Powell and his wife Allyson reside in Greenville, and have two children Holden, 4, and Ellie, 1. The Powell’s daughter Izzy passed away earlier this year from a rare autoimmune disease. The family started a charity event called Donors on the Diamond, in honor of their late daughter, and Powell also is on the board of directors for Donate for Life, an organization which helps promote promote organ, eye, and tissue donation.