C of C baseball coach will leave alma mater
BY AARON BRENNER
CLEMSON — Monte Lee wears size 11 cleats. Big feet — good thing, since he is stepping into one of the top jobs in college baseball.
Lee’s got broad shoulders, also a worthy asset now that he wears the weighty burden of a pressure-cooking fanbase to rebuild a once-proud program.
Lee agreed Wednesday to become the third baseball coach Clemson has had since 1958, following in the footsteps of Bill Wilhelm and the recently fired Jack Leggett. He leaves the College of Charleston after four NCAA Tournament trips in his seven seasons as coach.
The deal was being finalized Wednesday night. Neither Lee nor Clemson could officially confirm the move until all paperwork is approved.
Leggett, a 2014 American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee, was let go after a five-year slide. He coached Clemson to six College World Series appearances in 22 years. Wilhelm led the Tigers to six College World Series in the previous 36 seasons.
Lee was 276-145 these past seven seasons coaching the Cougars, who played in the 2014 Super Regional round and had an 8-8 NCAA Tournament record the past five years. Charleston finished no worse than third in its conference standings each of the past six years.
The 38-year-old Lee played four years for the College from 1996-99, and served as Ray Tanner’s assistant at South Carolina from 2002-08 before taking over at his Alma mater. Lee recruited Jackie Bradley Jr. and many of the other players on the South Carolina teams that won national championships in 2010 and 2011.
He was named the 2015 Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year, going 36-9 in league play during the Cougars’ first two years in the CAA.
Lee had signed an eight-year contract extension with the College of Charleston last June, which was worth $193,000 a season through 2020.
A press conference is scheduled for Thursday in Clemson to introduce Lee.