CLEMSON — Clemson baseball coach Monte Lee said following his team’s disappointing season that he was unsure if he would be back for 2022.
Tigers Athletics Director Dan Radakovich has since come out in support of Lee and made it clear that he will remain the head baseball coach at Clemson moving forward.
“I am grateful for our fans and recognize the passion and support they have for this program. We all have high expectations for our baseball program, and no one understands those better than Monte Lee,” Radakovich said in a statement to ClemsonSports.com. “While the 2021 season fell short of the on-field expectations, we have reason to be optimistic about the future of Clemson baseball under Monte.”
Lee, Radakovich and the Clemson administration are now turning their attention to figuring out how to make the program better.
This was the first losing season for Clemson baseball since 1957 and the first time the Tigers have missed the NCAA Tournament since 2008.
Radakovich told SportsTalkSC last week that he has had several conversations with Lee since the season ended, although he did not get into specifics.
“Monte and I have had numerous discussions about what we can do to help him… So what do we do to get back to the expectation that we have, that Monte has, that our fans have for our baseball program? So we’re really looking forward to trying to make whatever adjustments are needed and necessary to do that and get Clemson baseball back to where it should be,” Radakovich said. “What can we do as an institution, what can we do as an athletic program, what can we do within the NCAA rules?”
Lee has not announced any staff changes yet, and Radakovich is not the type of AD to demand that staff changes take place.
He trusts his coaches to run their programs and doesn’t micro-manage. Radakovich also explained to SportsTalkSC why he didn’t feel the need to make a head coaching change.
“Over the last five years… we kind of did a little analysis of Clemson and Georgia Tech and Georgia and South Carolina and Tennessee. Over the last five years, the winningest program has been Clemson,” Radakovich said. “And the program that has gone to the most NCAA Tournaments has been Clemson. It just hasn’t been this last year.”
Still, there’s no denying that expectations weren’t met in 2021, and missing the NCAA Tournament doesn’t need to become a trend.
“I’m accountable for what happened this season, so I certainly hope to be back,” Lee said. “If I am back then we’re gonna work really hard to turn it around and get these guys ready to have a nice run next year.”