About three months ago I authored an article with our editor, Brian Goodison, suggesting that if the season concluded the way that it eventually would, Dan Radakovich needed to be decisive and brave and fire Hall of Fame coach, Jack Leggett. I applaud his decision and maybe more importantly his sentiment when he said:
"I think we can be better. Clemson baseball is premier brand positioned well for near future."
While I feel confident in saying Athletic Director Dan Radakovich made the right decision for the long term health of the baseball program, I also want to echo his comments about what Coach Leggett has done for Clemson.
"Jack has meant so much to this program over the last 22 years. I cannot do justice to the impact he's made on our program."
Now that the battle is over and the dust has cleared. Rather than try to assess the situation or speak to the vocal minority who didn't want Jack to go (see polling here and here), we can finally take a moment to thank him for what he did while he was here.
From 1994 to 2007, the heyday of the Leggett tenure (I stop before 2010 for the same reason that a Yankees fan doesn't count 2004 as a successful season), the Tigers won 50+ games on six different occasions. In those 14 years he guided the Tigers to five College World Series appearances. While they never sealed the deal, they were making the final group of eight 36% of the time. That's a wildly impressive clip. They also had five ACC crowns (three regular season and two tournament).
Since 2007, things have dipped and Radakovich makes a wise comment when he says:
"We need to inject some new momentum and create optimism around our baseball program."
Still, his incredible success during that stretch merits his name in the Hall of Fame. As the program enters what will likely be its first true rebuilding season since 2008 with all the likely departures, they can look back on the strong foundation Jack fortified and forward to a fresh face works to re-invigorate the program and bring them back to national prominence.
Now the fan base can unite around the promise:
"We have high expectations for our baseball team and we'll find the right coach to continue to move that tradition of excellence."