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Sweeney Named New Upstate Baseball Coach

Upstate Athletics

Kane Sweeney Tabbed to Helm Upstate Baseball, Becoming Program’s Fifth Head Coach

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The chief architect of one of the nation’s premier offenses and a key cog in the winningest period of USC Upstate baseball, Kane Sweeney has been tabbed as the next leader of the Spartan program, replacing Mike McGuire who resigned to pursue other coaching opportunities.

“We are absolutely thrilled to name Kane Sweeney as the new leader of Upstate Baseball! Kane has been an integral part of the unprecedented success of our baseball program over the past five seasons, helping lead us to two conference championship appearances and four consecutive seasons with at least 35 wins. He knows what it takes to win in the Big South Conference and brings a great vision and energy for elevating our baseball program to a championship level, said Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Matthew Martin. “Most importantly, he has a unique ability to connect with and develop our student-athletes to be the very best version of themselves. The future remains incredibly bright for Spartan Baseball, and we could not be more excited for Kane, Natalie, and their growing family as they step into this new role.”

I do want to sincerely thank Mike McGuire for his leadership over the past five seasons. He helped build a strong foundation here at Upstate for Kane to take over and hit the ground running.”

Ascending to the helm of the program, Sweeney earned the promotion after serving the past five seasons as an assistant coach on the Upstate staff, most recently, as the program’s Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator. During his time at Upstate, he’s helped the program to 159 victories and two consecutive Big South Conference Championship Game appearances, adding to his 77 victories and two Ohio Valley Conference Championship Game appearances while on staff at Morehead State.

“I am truly honored to become the next head baseball coach at USC Upstate. Thank you to Chancellor Harris, Matt Martin, and the leadership team for entrusting me with the opportunity,” said Sweeney. “USC Upstate has been a special place for me and my family. I have seen what this program is capable of and am excited to establish a new future of Upstate baseball.”

In his five seasons leading the Spartans’ offense, Upstate has posted a team batting average of .284 or better in each season while scoring at least 6.7 runs per game. In each of the four full seasons under his direction—omitting the shortened 2020 season—the team’s offense has collected 540 or more hits and 93 or more doubles while improving its home run total each season, including a program record 108 in 2024.

The 2024 season saw Upstate capture 36 victories, giving the program a fourth consecutive season with 35 or more wins, the longest such streak in program history. The Spartans set program records for hits (637) and home runs (108) while first baseman Grant Sherrod (78 RBI) and leftfielder Jace Rinehart (22 doubles and 173 total bases) established program records and rightfielder Koby Kropf (20 home runs and .704 slugging percentage) established a Division I era program record.

Six position players finished the season with All-Big South honors—a highwater mark since joining the Big South ahead of the 2019 season—with third baseman Vance Sheahan bringing home Big South Freshman of the Year accolades.

In 2023, Sweeney helped guide Upstate to one of the most successful seasons in program history as the program reached its first-ever Big South Tournament Championship Game while collecting a program-best 38 overall wins and 21 conference wins (non-40-game conference schedule) en route to the No. 2 seed in the Big South Championship.

Under his guidance, the Spartans’ offense set program records for stolen bases (110) and sacrifice flies (48) while first baseman Grant Sherrod (15 home runs; 66 RBI; 140 total bases; .625 slugging percentage), second baseman Easton Cullison (25 stolen bases), and catcher David Pereira (seven sacrifice flies) all established Division I era program records. Four members of the team’s offense ended the season with All-Big South honors.

In 2022, the offense, under Sweeney’s direction, set the program record for times being hit by a pitch (103)—a total that ranked ninth in the NCAA—and ranked top three in the Big South in nine major statistical categories. He coached four All-Big South selections, helping lead designated hitter Noah Sullivan to Big South Freshman of the Year and Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American honors as the two-way player finished his season hitting .303 with 67 hits, 42 RBI, and 43 free bases.

In 2021, Upstate ranked top-50 in the NCAA in five major statistical categories, ranking top-25 in times hit by a pitch (16th), and batting average (24th). Five position players finished the season earning All-Big South honor.

During the shortened 2020 season, the Spartans’ offense ranked top-50 in the NCAA in eight major statistical categories, ranking top-10 in the nation in times hit by a pitch (fourth) and triples (eighth).

Prior to Upstate, Sweeney returned to his alma mater, Morehead State, spending the 2018 and 2019 seasons on the Eagles’ staff. His first season back in a Morehead State uniform concluded the same as his last during his playing career, with an OVC Championship, making an appearance in the 2018 NCAA Clemson Regional. The 2019 season saw the Eagles win a program-record 40 games, standing as the last OVC program to win 40 games in a single season.

He began his coaching career in the fall of 2017, serving as an assistant coach at Illinois-Springfield.

Sweeney was selected in the 29th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees, playing two seasons in the organization across three levels. He spent the remainder of the 2015 season with the Pulaski Yankees of the Appalachian League before being promoted to the Staten Island Yankees (New York-Penn League) and Charleston RiverDogs (South Atlantic League) in 2016.

He spent the 2017 season with The Frontier League’s Washington Wild Things where he earned regular and postseason All-Star honors, leading the Wild Things to the Frontier League playoffs. With Washington, he hit .296 with 15 home runs and a .996 OPS while setting the franchise record for walks in a single season.

Sweeney played collegiately at Morehead State, helping the Eagles to a 2015 OVC Championship and NCAA Louisville Regional appearance as he led the team with 15 home runs during the campaign. He twice brought home All-OVC honors, being named Second Team All-OVC in 2013 and First Team All-OVC in 2015. Upon graduation, he held program records for career walks (148; since broken) and longest reached base streak (since broken; twice by players he coached).

A native of Millstadt, Ill., Sweeney graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sport Management from Morehead State in 2015. He is married to the former Natalie Greenwell, and together they have a son, Kashton.

All hires by the University of South Carolina Upstate athletic department are subject to an approved background check.

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