Year five for Clemson baseball coach Monte Lee is going to be crucial and future defining. We are going to find out this year if he is the right guy to lead Clemson into the future.
It is always difficult writing about any of the Clemson athletic coaches. Regardless of the sport, they are all fantastic people and fans tend to lean toward that side and not on the field performance. However, they aren’t paid to be nice people, they are paid to win games and graduate their student-athletes.
While we can make the argument that being a student first is the most important aspect, no coach in the country makes millions because he/she has the highest graduation rate in their sport.
Monte Lee was handed the tall task of replacing a beloved icon in Clemson sports history. Jack Leggett steered Clemson baseball for 22 years and parts of three different decades. He guided Clemson to 11 Super Regionals and six College World Series appearances during his run at Clemson.
Under Lee, Clemson has hosted a regional three different times and have made the playoffs in all four years, however, they have failed to advance to a Super Regional under his guidance. Matter of fact, Clemson has not made it out of a regional since they made it to Omaha in 2010.
Under Lee, Clemson has won an ACC title and won the division once. In year five, he has to accomplish more.
Clemson enters the college baseball season as a Top 25 team and will field one of the better teams in the ACC. Clemson returns both Mat Clark and Davis Sharpe at the top of their rotation and will have some pretty good arms to surround them with. Even with the dismissal of Michael Green, should still have
Yes, they will have to replace five starters lost from last year’s team but having a healthy Kier Meredith returning to the lineup which should ease some of the production loss.
Whenever you have coaching changes, the sentiment is the coach needs four full years to establish his culture and allow his recruiting to take hold of a program. Year five for Lee is pivotal and if they fail to get out of the Regional again in 2020, it may be time to start looking elsewhere; regardless of what great a guy he is.
Best should be the standard in every sport at Clemson, not just football.