After his football coach captured Clemson's first BCS victory and won double-digit games for the third straight year, Dan Radakovich was happy to rip up Dabo Swinney's old contract and make him an even wealthier man.
After his basketball coach increased the Tigers' win total by 10, taking a team expected to languish in the ACC basement all the way to the NIT semifinals in New York City, Radakovich began working with Brad Brownell on his own contract extension.
So for the moment, the spotlight is on the newly minted Hall of Famer who's been a baseball skipper since Swinney and Brownell were in grade school and has led Clemson's baseball program longer than many of his players have been alive.
Jack Leggett and the Clemson baseball program are under the microscope.
"I look forward to speaking with Jack at the end of the season to see where the direction of our program is going to go," Radakovich told The Post and Courier on Wednesday.
While the Tigers claw for their NCAA lives in this week's ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Clemson's athletic director and Leggett's boss offered a balanced assessment before a large crowd of Tigers fans aboard the aircraft carrier Yorktown in Mount Pleasant.
"Yes, this has been disappointing, but I think people have to look at collegiate baseball as a whole," Radakovich said at the Prowl & Growl Tour stop Wednesday night. "There are 20, 30, 40 really good programs around the country with the amount of resources that schools have been able to put into their baseball program."
Radakovich, Clemson's football-minded second-year AD, knows the baseball landscape. He pointed to Miami, this year's ACC regular-season champion that was around the .500 mark the past two years, as an example of how quickly it can get good. He then referenced North Carolina and N.C. State, each College World Series participants in 2013, backtracking to the ACC tournament play-in games in 2014.
"So you talk about parity in basketball and parity in football," Radakovich said, "I think it's now trickled down to college baseball.
"We have to get better. That's not an excuse. That's just the reality of college baseball right now."
Asked specifically if Leggett has the administration's full support, Radakovich took the wait-and-see approach.
"That's a hard thing to say. Everybody has their support. I'd love to say I'm with our coaches win, lose or tie," Radakovich said. "Yes, Jack's earned some things. He's put some dollars in the bank."
Last October, Radakovich insisted on seeing improvement from the basketball program before he'd commit to Brownell long-term. Radakovich did, and Clemson is.
A similar situation befalls Leggett, whose team is in danger of missing the NCAA tournament for just the second time in 28 years and is staring down its fourth straight non-CWS season, the longest drought in Leggett's 23-year tenure.
"We have to maintain that upward trajectory that we talked about earlier with our basketball program. Our football program is doing the same thing," Radakovich said. "We need to make sure that we're doing what we can, administratively, to give our baseball program the opportunity to be successful."
Leggett has two years left on his contract that pays him $400,000 per year in base and supplemental salary (before incentives). Firing Leggett immediately after the 2014 season would cost Clemson a buyout of roughly $416,666, essentially costing the athletic department one year's salary to usher in Clemson's third head coach since 1957.
While at Georgia Tech, Radakovich made two major coaching moves. He replaced Yellow Jackets football coach Chan Gailey with Paul Johnson and men's basketball coach Paul Hewitt with Brian Gregory. At Clemson, he replaced women's basketball coach Itoro Coleman with Audra Smith.
This decision bears a different beast: Leggett was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January, and wields six College World Series appearances on his resume.
"There's not a lot of staffs I've been on," Radakovich said, "that have a Hall of Fame coach associated with it."
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