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Still pitching

Gamecock great Michael Roth trades in his cleats for suit-and-tie world of real estate

baseball pitcher wearing a Carolina Gamecocks uniform in full throw motion from the mound

As a Gamecock, Michael Roth made some significant pitches from the mound and helped lead South Carolina to three World Series title games, including back-to-back wins in 2010-11. Later, his talents took him to the Los Angeles Angels, where he made his Major League Baseball debut, less than a year after his last out with the Gamecocks.

Today, the 34-year-old graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business is making pitches of a different sort — finding and closing real estate deals for himself and his clients while at NAI Earle Furman in Greenville, where he lives with his wife, fellow USC graduate Rachel Sanna Roth, and their two children.

two people hold two children sitting in front of a christmas tree

“We love it here,” says Roth, who graduated with degrees in marketing and international business and a minor in Spanish. “We have a great community. My family's here. Rachel’s family is very close by. So it's a great place for us to raise kids.”

“And the schools are great,” adds Rachel, who was a cheerleader at Carolina and graduated in 2014 with a degree in sport and entertainment management.

Before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom, Rachel Roth worked at several Greenville businesses and technology company ScanSource.

In between, the Roths traveled together as he pursued his dream of being a professional baseball player, which took him from Los Angeles, to stops in Columbus, Ohio, the Dominican Republic, and even Germany, where he played for the Great Britain National Team. (He has dual citizenship in Great Britain from his mother.)

But it was at a minor league stop that Roth first got interested in real estate.

“As a starting pitcher, you only play one day out of five days, right? So when I was still playing in 2016, I was in Round Rock, Texas, and I would sit there in the dugout with this volunteer coach and talk to him about his business,” he says. “A lot of what he had invested in was commercial real estate deals, development deals in the Austin area. And I was like, ‘I need to figure this out.’

“I just wanted to learn more about it. I was never into the stock market. I like the ability to touch and see what you invest in.”

Roth says the freedom of being his own boss and setting his own agenda also appealed to him.

“There are so many different asset types, so many different deal types and different things you can do in that industry,” he says.

During the ensuing offseason, Roth got an internship with a broker and earned his license.

“You have to have on-the-job training,” he says. “When I became an intern, that's where you have to be there and you have to see deals being done. It's just like getting reps in baseball.”

Now he works as a broker for NAI Earle Furman, helping developers and property owners make deals, but he also invests in his own properties.

“I essentially run my own mini-business,” he says. “I decide what deals to pursue and what my specialty is. I gravitated toward the development side of things. And that gives you the freedom to create your own destiny. I like that as an athlete.”

Roth works on deals to create everything from new neighborhoods — which he says are desperately needed in fast-growing Greenville County — to his own deal to turn a former textile building on Wade Hampton Boulevard near downtown into a high-end office space.

“I like taking something old and creating something new,” he says.

The Roths have participated as coaches and helpers during Special Olympic events and Michael serves on the Greenville County Board of Zoning Appeals. That board hears and decides appeals of county zoning regulations and decisions made by the county zoning administrator.

Michael Roth, who was inducted in the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2021, also served as president of the Greenville Gamecock Club before the demands of work and fatherhood led him to step back from the high-profile role.

The couple say they are not sure whether Greenville will be their forever home, but for now, the comfort of family nearby and a supportive network at church and work makes it a great place for their growing family.


Gamecock Nation: Greenville

If you studied at the University of South Carolina and are now living and working in the Upstate, you might sometimes feel like you’re alone as a Gamecock. But the truth is that the Greenville area is home to more than 28,000 USC alumni, making it the top destination for USC graduates after Columbia. We spoke with several alumni who are making an impact in Greenville.

Meet our Greenville Alumni
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