Tyler Chadwick has one shot left.
And he’ll make the most of it as the graduate senior prepares for the final moment of his collegiate athletic career.
Having already won an NCAA Division I national championship this past season in his final year as a member of the Coastal Carolina baseball team, Chadwick will get his shot as he prepares for his first-ever and last-ever start as a college quarterback for the Chants when they take on Hampton at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Chadwick – a former intern with the football program while still on the baseball team – got his first significant playing time last weekend after joining the team earlier in the season. He split time with true freshman Ryan Lee as the team’s signal caller in a 42-7 win over rival Liberty and was 6-of-9 for 71 passing yards.
“I think it’s incredible. I think he’s on Cloud Nine,” Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia said. “To have the college career he’s had with the baseball team and contribute as much as he did, and not only to contribute so much for them but to have a game like he did against Liberty last week and now he’s getting the start in the very last game of his career? I think that’s incredible and I’m sure he feels the same.”
Chadwick keeps his composure well as proven by his performance in the baseball team’s run through the College World Series last season and it’s not different when he’s on the football field.
He also has been preparing hard all year after joining the team just before Coastal Carolina’s win over Furman on Sept. 24. Injuries have now forced him into the starting role as the team lost three quarterbacks to season-ending injuries, and have dealt with a few other injuries – especially since junior Tyler Keane, a Myrtle Beach High graduate who is the team’s passing leader this season, has been dealing with a leg injury sustained three weeks ago in a win over Monmouth.
But now with Chadwick in at signal caller, the team has confidence in him to get it done.
“The good thing was when baseball ended I continued lifting and was able to stay in pretty good shape,” Chadwick said. “I was up there being an intern, so [the preparation] wasn’t as much as what the other players went through, but once I started doing this it was full time lifting and trying to get my body in shape. It’s been really good; I’ve got to spend a lot of time doing the scout team which I think has been really helpful and has gotten me some live bullets. It’s been good and I’ve had so much fun since being out here.”
Chadwick has been getting a lot of reps as part of the Chants Squad (scout team) against the team’s first-team offense and said that has helped tremendously, especially last Thursday as he stood for a second and took it all in before entering the field against the Flames.
“It was a dream come true. It really was. I was kind of in another zone the whole day,” Chadwick said. “The good thing for me, I’ve been taking a lot of the scout team reps and I’ve been going against our first-team defense the majority of the year, and they’re pretty dang good. So getting in the game there was nobody around me and I didn’t have a pass rush and it was kind of weird. But it’s been nice to come out here and practice every day with the guys and obviously on Thursday, that was a pretty cool moment.”
Chadwick has also impressed his teammates and his coaches in his short time as a collegiate football player. Although, he was a standout quarterback at Marvin Ridge High School (Waxhaw, N.C.) before choosing to become a baseball player. Now he’d like to continue his career in football, opting to try his hand at coaching.
“If that’s not a national story, I don’t know what is. A guy wins a national championship in baseball and he’s an intern with the football team and comes back, volunteers to play and now due to injury he’s going to get his first start in the last game of his college career? That’s a storybook. Hopefully he can finish it out with a couple of touchdowns on Saturday,” Offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude said. “… And the thing about it, he’s played really well. He had a great week of practice and he’s unflappable. That’s the one thing about that guy; he doesn’t get nervous. He’s 5-foot-8 but he slings the ball around, he takes control of the team, the team rallies around him and the team loves him. He’s really been adopted by these guys and he’s done a good job of leading and wants to become a coach. He’s a great leader.”
Senior offensive lineman Sam Ekwonike will embrace Chadwick’s opportunity to lead the Chants on Saturday.
“It’s cool; I think it’s very cool,” he said. “He’s played two collegiate sports; not a lot of people get to do that. I told him that he’s going to make the CCU Hall of Fame real soon. I think it’s great, he’s doing very well so I’m looking forward to it.”
Chadwick may just have to soak it all in again before stepping onto the teal field for the last time as a player. And chances are he’ll embrace the moment.
“It’s my last collegiate game ever, in any sport. So it’s pretty exciting,” Chadwick said. “The coaches are putting together a really good game plan and it’ll be fun to go out there and compete. That’ll definitely be the last time I ever put on any athletic or Coastal Carolina uniform and this community has been so good to me, so it’ll be a special moment.”