Coach Ray Tanner's got a lot of options to choose from when weeding through potential applicants for his vacant assistant coach position.
One of the best may be a short drive away.
Jim Toman, Tanner's right-hand man for each of his 11 seasons at South Carolina and for seven years at N.C. State, resigned last week to take over at Liberty. Tanner, according to USC sports information officials, began the process of looking for a replacement Monday.
One name that could re-surface is The Citadel assistant Stuart Lake.
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Lake, a USC assistant from 1999-2002, spent the past year with the Bulldogs as their hitting coach, helping in recruiting. He assisted the Gamecocks' hitters and was first-base coach at USC when Tanner steered the club into the national spotlight.
Lake said Monday that he and Tanner had stayed very close but had not broached the subject of Lake returning to Columbia.
"We haven't talked at that level," Lake said. "I know he'll get the best person available for that job."
Tanner was quoted in The (Columbia) State on Sunday, saying he'd expect to have the job filled soon. He also hinted it could be someone familiar, although he didn't name anybody specifically.
"It would more than likely be someone that our fans are familiar with," Tanner told The State. He did not return a call seeking comment Monday.
Lake could be a natural fit. A Prosperity native, Lake played at Mid-Carolina High School and collegiately at Newberry, USC-Salkehatchie and Charleston Southern. His wife, Tracie, is a Clover native and Lake earned a master's from USC in 1998.
Lake left the Gamecocks for a season at College of Charleston, where he guided the Cougars' hitters and coached third base. He signed on with Ole Miss in 2004 and spent three years coaching the Rebels' hitters before resigning after the 2006 season.
• GETTING READY FOR THE GRIDIRON: Clemson safety Michael Hamlin and offensive tackle Barry Richardson were named preseason All-Americans by Street & Smith Magazine. The Tigers were ranked 22nd by the same publication and running back C.J. Spiller was featured on the cover of the Southeast edition, which will be available in early July.
Hamlin made the second team after starting 10 of 13 games last year, missing three with a broken foot. He had 64 tackles, five for loss, and two interceptions.
Richardson, a third-team selection, is the only returnee to a vaunted offensive line. He was a first-team All-ACC selection with 75 knockdown blocks.
In addition, Clemson set two more game times for the season. The Tigers' home games against Louisiana-Monroe and Furman on Sept. 8 and Sept. 15, respectively, will each begin at 1 p.m. Those follow Clemson's nationally broadcasted game on Sept. 3, at home against Florida State.
• ONWARD AND UPWARD: Seven current or former USC track and field standouts made the U.S. World Championship team over the weekend, with five others qualifying for the Pan Am Junior Championship team.
Graduates Terrence Trammell, Rodney Martin, Miki Barber, Mechelle Lewis and Tiffany Ross-Williams plus former Gamecock All-American Leroy Dixon and rising senior Natasha Hastings each made the U.S. squad. Johnny Dutch, Brandi Cross, Kya Brookins and USC signees Breehana Jacobs and Shayla Mahan made the Pan Am squad, which will be coached by USC assistant head coach Delethea Quarles.