Clemson Tigers fires coach Monte Lee, to conduct national search for replacement
June 1, 2022
The Clemson Tigers have decided to fire baseball coach Monte Lee after missing two consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Clemson athletic director Graham Neff, who was hired in December last year, announced the move Tuesday.
Lee is a former collegiate outfielder turned head coach in the NCAA. He coached the Tigers for seven years since he was hired in mid-2015. In the following year, he brought the program to one of its best appearances in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA Regional.
Tigers to conduct national search for replacement
Neff said in a statement that announcing the program’s change of leadership was tough. The first-year athletic director sang high praise for Lee and acknowledged the coach’s significant contributions to Clemson.
“It was a tough day. Tough day. Never easy decisions like this and certainly with my role here it is important to evaluate and to make tough decisions. That is what this is and primarily because of who Coach Lee is as person, first of all, and as a leader of Clemson baseball,” Neff said. “He has always led Clemson in a first-class manner and has been an incredibly important part of our department.”
Apparently, the former collegiate outfielder still has two years remaining on his contract with the Tigers. Neff explained that the remaining years equal $500,000.
“Monte’s contract, which should be available, he has two years remaining on his contract that we’ll certainly payout and abide by that contract of course. It equates to about $500,000 that will that we have planned for and will certainly support in a first class manner, his transition,” he said.
In addition to announcing the firing of Lee, the athletic director confirmed the program would immediately begin a national-wide search for Lee’s replacement.
“From a market and where we attend to go with the search, as I said, I consider Clemson baseball a top 15 job. Period,” Neff added. “With the tradition, the resources, the facilities, the fanbase, the talent within this state of South Carolina and region, and I think that is where Clemson baseball should be and what that means from a competition for postseason, Regional, Super Regional and Omaha.”
Neff insisted that the next coach should be able to increase the Tigers’ 12 College World Series appearances. Such a caliber is among the criteria the program is demanding.
“We have been to 12 College World Series, and we intend to increase that number. So, the ability to attract that caliber of coach is where we intend to start,” Neff continued.
It was also reported that assistant Bradley LeCroy and director of operations Brad Owen would take care of the program as they search for a new head coach.
Lee’s seven years in Clemson
Lee wrapped his seven years with the Tigers with a 242–136 overall. He led the program to claim the 2018 regular-season champion in the division and make four consecutive NCAA Regional appearances in 2016-2019.
Prior to coaching the Tigers, Lee was hired by the Charleston Cougars, for whom he played as an outfielder from 1996 to 1999. Coaching the Cougars is the best career highlight in Lee’s CV but is also the shortest.
In the first year with the Cougars, the former OF led Charleston to claim the second position in the conference tournament. In the following year, Lee presented the program with a top spot in the regular season. He was 276–145 overall with the Cougars.