Clemson seems set to hire College of Charleston coach Monte Lee as the new baseball coach. Lee, 39, has been the head coach at College of Charleston for 7 seasons where he compiled a 276-145 record while winning 2 conference titles as well as 1 conference tournament. Lee also guided CofC to 4 NCAA Regional appearances, advancing to the Super Regional in 2014.
Reports are conflicting about if the deal is done or not, though all indications are Lee has at least accepted the job offer and could be introduced later this week.
Prior to his head coaching stint, Lee was an assistant at South Carolina where he was part of a staff that led the Gamecocks to 2 College World Series appearances between 2003 and 2008. Lee played his college ball at College of Charleston and was also a professional baseball player for two seasons after being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Now Lee seems set take over a historic program that has not performed to expectations. He will become Clemson's third coach since 1957, and at the young age of 39 he has the ability to stay here long term if successful. To do that though he is going to need to not only improve the talent, Clemson's average recruiting class is just outside the top 25, but also improve the baseball skills of those kids on campus. Errors and other mental mistakes have really hurt Clemson over the past few years, and just fixing these problems could be enough to see Clemson return to 40 plus wins and consistent Super Regional berths.
As for the hire itself, it seems like Dan Radakovich got this one right. Names such as Kevin O'Sullivan, Tim Corbin, and Jim Schlossnagle were always more pipe dream than realistic. According to reports Radakovich also interviewed Bradley Lecroy, Matthew LeCroy, Maryland's John Szefc, Virginia assistant Kevin McMullan, and current Boston Red Sox organization manager Billy McMillon. Monte Lee is considered one of the brighter young coaches in the game, and his local South Carolina ties will help in recruiting. He will be able to rebuild the fractured relationships Jack Leggett had with South Carolina high school coaches.
At this time we haven't heard any rumors about what Lee's salary is, but it is likely to be more than his current $193,000 at CofC. Several sources have also indicated he will be bringing pitching coach Matt Heath with him. Heath is considered one of the better assistants in the game and with a lot of turnover on the Clemson pitching staff for 2016 he will have to get to work quickly.