It’s a very special day at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Prior to the start of their game against Notre Dame, the Clemson Tiger Baseball program will retire jersey number 7 in honor of coaching legend Jack Leggett.
Leggett coached the Tigers for 22 seasons from 1994 to 2015. Under his helm, the Tigers reached the College World Series six times, won three ACC championships, and only missed out on the postseason once (2008).
Leggett was awarded ACC Coach of the Year honors three times during his tenure at Clemson. In 2014, he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, an honor that reflects both his program’s success, as well as his impact on the college sport and the baseball community.
Though he would be forced to depart from the program following the 2015 season, Leggett would retire with a career record of 1,332-770, making him the 9th winningest coach in division one baseball history.
Despite no longer being an official coach for the Tigers, Leggett’s influence on the program is still very active. This past offseason, he played an instrumental role in convincing Eric Bakich to return to Clemson. While Bakich is the future of Clemson’s program, he himself admires Leggett, as his first coaching job was on Leggett’s staff.
Bakich understands the significance of maintaining Leggett’s connection to the program. The Clemson Insider has quoted the Bakich on the importance of finding a role for the former head coach:
"“…We have to have Coach Leggett involved in this program and around our players and the energy he brings. Whatever capacity that is or whatever title that is, I don’t know, but I just know the program will be better with his energy involved.”"
Leggett’s involvement would be found in a new tradition instilled by Bakich: “7 with 7.” Prior to the start of each game, the team meets with Leggett for 7 minutes, as the former head coach provides advice and encouragement for the team heading into the match.
It is important that, if Clemson hopes to reinstate their role as one of the premier programs in the nation, they remember those who worked to instill that winning tradition. Perhaps, no one in Clemson’s history has contributed greater to that tradition than ol’ number 7. Retiring his number displays Clemson’s acknowledgment of his accomplishments, and serves as a reminder that Leggett will remain a vital figure within the continued growth of Clemson’s program.
After retiring his number, the Tigers will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 4:00 EST. That game will be broadcast on ACCNX.