College of Charleston baseball coach Monte Lee won't be headed to Arizona anytime soon.
Lee interviewed for the vacant head coaching position at Arizona State last week, but the Sun Devils have hired Indiana coach Tracy Smith, the Arizona Republic reported on Tuesday. The Sun Devils have scheduled a press conference for Thursday to announce Smith's hiring.
Lee was thought be the leading candidate for the Sun Devils position until Smith's name surfaced on Tuesday.
"Arizona State has made a great hire," Lee said Tuesday night. "He's an incredible coach with an incredible resume."
On Monday, the College of Charleston offered Lee a seven-year contract extension worth $193,000 per season, The Post and Courier learned. Lee would not comment on a new extension.
"I'm extremely happy to be where I am and I'm excited to be at the College of Charleston," Lee said. "This is a special place for me and I have never thought about leaving. It'll have to be a special offer from a special place to get me to leave the College of Charleston."
Smith, who is 604-457-1 at the Division I level, replaces Tim Esmay, who resigned earlier this month after five seasons with the Sun Devils.
Smith is 287-237 in nine seasons at Indiana and before that was 317-220-1 in nine seasons at Miami (Ohio). Smith guided the Hoosiers to a 49-16 record and the school's first College World Series berth in 2013. He was named National Coach of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association last summer.
This year, the Hoosiers went 44-15 and were the No. 4 national seed in the NCAA tournament, but lost to Stanford in the regional finals. They won the Big Ten regular-season title in 2013 and 2014 and the Big Ten Tournament title in 2013.
Lee, 37, led the College of Charleston to one of the best seasons in program history this year. The Cougars finished the season with a 44-19 mark, a Colonial Athletic Association tournament title, a Gainesville Regional crown and a spot in the Lubbock Super Regional.
In six seasons with the Cougars, Lee is 231-130 with three NCAA Regional appearances - 2010, 2012 and 2014 - and this year's super regional spot.
"I'm flattered that Arizona State would even consider interviewing me," Lee said. "Traditionally, Arizona State is one of the top five jobs in college baseball. It's very humbling, and the administration and people I met in Arizona were great. It was a great experience for me."
Incoming College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell spoke with Lee for about 30 minutes over the weekend. That conversation put Lee's mind at ease and made his decision to stay in the Lowcountry that much easier.
"We had a great talk and President McConnell has a great vision for the College, the athletic department and the baseball program," Lee said. "I think the next few years are going to be very exciting around here. It's something our fans are going to be excited about and I'm glad I'm going to be a part of it."
In December of 2012, Lee was named one of Baseball America's Top 10 Head Coaches under 40 and one of Perfect Game's Top 10 Rising Head Coaches.
The Cougars have led their conference in staff ERA in 2012, 2013 and 2014, ranking in the top 20 in the country in ERA this season at 2.72.
Lee played in 206 games during his career at the College of Charleston from 1996-99 before becoming the first position player drafted in school history by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 39th round of the 1999 Major League Draft. Lee hit .333 for his career with 22 home runs and 150 RBIs.
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