College of Charleston baseball coach Monte Lee will be in the Lowcountry for the foreseeable future.
Lee signed an eight-year contract extension worth $193,000 per season that will keep the former Cougars star at his alma mater through the 2020 season, the school announced Wednesday afternoon.
"This contract gives me the sense that this is where I'm going to be for a long, long time," Lee said. "That's all that I need to know and it's all that really matters to me. It's a great day, but I don't think I've ever had a bad day here at the College of Charleston."
After leading the Cougars to an NCAA Super Regional appearance earlier this month - only the second one in school history - Lee interviewed for the vacant head coaching position at Arizona State last week. The Sun Devils, however, hired Indiana coach Tracy Smith.
Lee, 37, was thought to be the leading candidate for the Sun Devils position until Smith's name surfaced on Tuesday.
Lee said the new contract will only help the Cougars on the recruiting trail. The deal includes a $75,000 buyout clause if Lee decides to take another job.
"One of the questions that a recruit and his family always is going to ask me is 'How many years do you have on your contract?' " Lee said.
"It's a legitimate question. Now, I can tell them that I'll be able to see their son play for all four years. That's a big deal."
Incoming College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell spoke with Lee for about 30 minutes over the weekend. The conversation with McConnell put Lee's mind at ease and made his decision to stay in the Lowcountry that much easier, he said.
"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."
Lee was able to garner sizable raises for full-time assistant coaches Matt Heath and Chris Morris.
"They deserve it because they've been a huge part of the success we've had here," Lee said. "I feel like I've got two of the best assistant coaches in the country."
Lee 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. The Cougars became the first-ever NCAA No. 4 seed to sweep a regional in three games and advance to a super regional.
In six seasons with the Cougars, Lee is 231-130 with three NCAA Regional appearances - 2010, 2012 and 2014. 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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