In part because he spent his college baseball playing career at Clemson, and then three more seasons with the Tigers as a volunteer assistant coach before successfully moving on to the professional coaching ranks at Western Carolina, and then Tennessee, Bradley LeCroy got the call when head coach Jack Leggett needed a new recruiting coordinator.
That opportunity opened when long-time Tiger assistant Tom Riginos accepted the head coaching position at Winthrop in 2010. Now, with LeCroy set to begin his second season, Leggett is more convinced than ever of having picked the right replacement.
“Bradley was a great choice when we lost Tom Riginos,” Leggett confirmed. “T.R. was here for nine years and did a great job. So we had to fill his role with somebody who could work as hard as he did, and had as many contacts as he did, and had as much pride in what he was doing. Bradley’s been in the program, and knows the system, and knows what’s expected.
“He’s worked here before as a volunteer coach, and he’s got great social skills, and he’s got great networking skills with all the people that are involved with where these kids will go in the draft. He’s got a great work-ethic, and a personality that helps him get along with all the players on the team, as well as the recruits and parents.”
As recruiting coordinator, LeCroy hasn’t diverged much from the model established by his predecessors.
“Being in charge of recruiting entails a lot of different things, like setting up the visits and that kind of thing,” said LeCroy, who also coaches hitting and outfield. “But this is a well-oiled machine, so it’s not like I had to come in here and change a lot of things that the previous guys like Tom Riginos and Kevin O’Sullivan had done. It’s been a smooth transition, because the program has got unbelievable tradition, and it recruits itself.”
LeCroy agrees that both his experience as a player at Clemson (1997-00), and his volunteer coaching stint (2003-05), have worked to his advantage.
“My past experience here has helped a huge amount,” he said. “From being a player here for Coach Leggett, I understand the players’ perspective. Also, I worked here for three years as a volunteer assistant under Kevin O’Sullivan (now the head coach at Florida).
“Working with Sully and Coach Leggett, I learned a tremendous amount about recruiting. From Sully, I learned how to network with the right guys to talk to about players. So those three years that I spent here as a volunteer were a huge building-block for my career.”
Before graduating to the recruiting coordinator job at Tennessee (2008-10), LeCroy had some mid-major recruiting successes at Western Carolina.
“I think Tennessee helped prepare me for this job because recruiting for the SEC and the ACC is a different level than the Southern Conference,” said LeCroy. “All three years when I was at Tennessee, we had nationally-ranked classes - one was ranked as high as 11th in the country - and it really prepared me to recruit the caliber of student-athlete that plays in the ACC.”
Though a survey of the Tigers’ roster shows that Clemson can and will look nation-wide for talent, LeCroy says that many of his strongest connections are in the Carolinas and Georgia, including the talent-rich Atlanta area.
“I take pride in the fact that if there’s a guy in the state of South Carolina that we feel can play at Clemson, our number-one priority is to get that guy,” said LeCroy. “Especially, because I’m from South Carolina, and know how much it means to the kids in this state who grew up being fans of Clemson, and now can maybe play for Clemson.”
While South Carolina isn’t quite the same recruiting hotbed in baseball as it is in football, the advanced level of amateur baseball in Georgia yields a recruiting goldmine.
“It started out with the East Cobb baseball program,” said LeCroy. “They started it probably twenty years ago in Marietta, GA. Now, there are numerous organizations in that area that run it like East Cobb does. Some of the kids that we signed in November come from East Cobb, and some come from other teams in the Gwinnett area, or even the south Georgia area.
“So besides the Carolinas, I also have a lot of connections in Georgia, and Georgia’s always been a really good state for us..”