The qualities Ray Tanner seeks in USC's new baseball coach
The announcement barely cleared Twitter before the speculation began. Who will replace Chad Holbrook, and wouldn’t a top candidate be somebody who’s already in-state, knows the recruiting area and cut his teeth under the man Holbrook replaced?
In short, wouldn’t Monte Lee have to be considered?
It makes sense. Lee is a South Carolina native, born in Spartanburg and a graduate of Lugoff-Elgin High. He was one of the best players in College of Charleston’s history and after a brief pro career, he was an assistant coach at Spartanburg Methodist for two seasons.
Ray Tanner hired him for the 2003 season and Lee was a mainstay the next six years, including two trips to the College World Series. He worked with the Gamecocks’ hitters (a sore spot for the present team) and was recruiting coordinator in his final year before the Cougars called him home as head coach.
The only problem is Lee’s present status. He wound up his second year at Clemson with another trip to the NCAA regionals – and another quick postseason exit despite hosting a regional. Hired to revitalize a Tigers program that slid in the last days of Jack Leggett, Lee did that with a 44-win ACC championship first year, resulting in a new contract.
The new contract and its buyout details are the sticking points when it comes to USC. Sources have indicated to The State newspaper that Lee would listen if Tanner called – after all, Lee owes much of his coaching career to Tanner.
But would that loyalty override the loyalty Lee feels to Clemson, and the finances it would take to make it work?
Lee would owe Clemson $675,000 if he left the program after this season. Lee and his family are also moving into a new house, according to The (Charleston) Post and Courier, and one of his daughters is enrolling at Clemson in the fall.
The Gamecocks paid Holbrook $400,000 last year and are on the hook for a settlement with him, although terms haven’t been finalized.
Lee made $400,000 this year and cleared at least $25,000 in bonuses.
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