Despite season, dismal weekend, Leggett has earned a chance to right the ship

The Clemson Sports Blog

Clemson's NCAA Regional Tournament game against Xavier at Vanderbilt University's Hawkins Field  in Nashville - Jack Leggett

Clemson's NCAA Regional Tournament game against Xavier at Vanderbilt University's Hawkins Field in Nashville - Jack Leggett

If you're Dan Radakovich, where do you go from here?

So far, Clemson's second-year athletic director has been a show-me kind of guy - of the inclination to move, and move decisively, in what he considers to be the best interest of the Tigers' big-picture athletic program.

Itoro Coleman, former Lady Tigers' hoops star, out as women's basketball coach.

Robbie Tenenbaum, who righted the ship after inheriting a mess, not retained after failing to take a resources-loaded rowing program to the NCAAs for three straight years.

Lawrence Johnson, multi-year track & field regional coach of the year and one of the top women's hurdles coaches in the world, shown the door after running afoul of NCAA rules.

So, now, what's he to do with Hall of Fame baseball coach Jack Leggett?

The fans are restless.

Much of the goodwill and benefit-of-the-doubt Clemson's veteran coach mustered during the Tigers' late-season drive to the NCAA tournament and milestone 1,300th win was squandered with a simply abysmal showing in the NCAA Nashville Regional.

The score of the first game and the opponent in the second hardly matter. This has been a long time coming, more the culmination of a trend than an aberration.

The Tigers played baseball badly. They failed to hit when it mattered, they flubbed routine defensive plays, and they delivered a string of disastrous pivotal-point pitches.

They were outplayed, out-hustled and, if you'll pardon my grammar, out-attituded.

They looked, from the get-go to the bitter end, like a team looking for a place to fall.

Who's fault is that? What should be done about it?

That is what Radakovich has to decide: does Leggett still have what it takes to pilot the Clemson baseball program out of these doldrums and into a championship future?

Leggett is passionate about the game and his players. He's shown flexibility in the way he coaches his teams, fitting style and philosophy to the talent and attributes he has to work with.

He's a winner: 1,300 games worth. He's developed players and young coaches at the absolute highest level.

He has also overseen what would be unanimously considered to be an unacceptable slide in Clemson's status as a national baseball power.

So does he make a change, dismissing Leggett and looking elsewhere for leadership? Or does he give the Tigers' veteran captain a chance to fix what's broken?

Asked after the season-ending loss to Xavier on Saturday if he's fully confident he'll be back coaching the Tigers next year, Leggett repeated the query and then answered, "I'd like to think that's a ridiculous question."

Unfortunately, it isn't.

I wouldn't want to be in Radakovich's place on this one.

But if I was, I'd prefer to see Leggett go out on a high note, like his predecessor, on his own terms.

I'd bite down hard, grit my teeth, and give him that chance. Because - a bitterly disappointing season and a dismal weekend performance acknowledged - I think he's earned it.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 15

35802tiger writes:

The Tigers were abysmal in fundamentals from the opening day loss to Eastern Michigan to the debacle in Nashville. Sorry, I can't give Jack a free pass on this one.

lhaselden writes:

in response to 35802tiger:

The Tigers were abysmal in fundamentals from the opening day loss to Eastern Michigan to the debacle in Nashville. Sorry, I can't give Jack a free pass on this one.

Coach Leggett is not giving himself a free pass either. There is no do-over. Jack Leggett suffered through this season just as we did. The question is whether the AD thinks Coach Leggett can fix what is ailing with Tiger baseball, if not the hire someone else. I do not think Coach Leggett should be fired just because of one season.

Sal#288333 writes:

in response to lhaselden:

Coach Leggett is not giving himself a free pass either. There is no do-over. Jack Leggett suffered through this season just as we did. The question is whether the AD thinks Coach Leggett can fix what is ailing with Tiger baseball, if not the hire someone else. I do not think Coach Leggett should be fired just because of one season.

It isn't just one season ,This the 4th year in a row they haven't advanced.
Here some points to ponder, pre-season nationally ranked , where did they end up , both this past season and the one before, the recruiting class was ranked in the top ten nationally the last 2 yrs. .Only lost one position player from last year ,can't beat South Carolina . All of this leads to one thing BAD COACHING !!! And its time for Big Jack to stop announcing his Resume ,that's a sign a coach is worried about his job. And he should be .

33dtb writes:

...."Despite season, dismal weekend, Leggett has earned a chance to right the ship"........

Why couldn't he have started "righting" earlier in the season ??????

All the good assistants are gone to other schools and one could suspect that Leggett has gone "t, bowden" and is hiring assistants that would not be a threat to his job.............. still can't figure how Dabbo snuck in under the radar ......

cwby writes:

in response to Sal#288333:

It isn't just one season ,This the 4th year in a row they haven't advanced.
Here some points to ponder, pre-season nationally ranked , where did they end up , both this past season and the one before, the recruiting class was ranked in the top ten nationally the last 2 yrs. .Only lost one position player from last year ,can't beat South Carolina . All of this leads to one thing BAD COACHING !!! And its time for Big Jack to stop announcing his Resume ,that's a sign a coach is worried about his job. And he should be .

I agree with Sal, we have been on a steady decline for a number of years. I believe jack has lost this team about a month ago and he certainly has lost the fans. Attendance has been horrible. Don't believe the attendance figures that are reported as every season ticket holder is reported as present. Furthermore, his arrogance in the last two weeks has surely turned off even more fans. Changes have to be made, at the very least Pep has to go. Jack needs to stay in the dugout instead of making his debutante type entrance and peacocking around. Typical arrogant, narcissistic behavior.

fasttiger44#293363 writes:

Yes, we played horribly in Nashville but, should Jake get fired over it? I personally think he deserves at least one more year. We have been too good for too long a period of time to get rid of the coach for playing defense like a little league team all weekend and embarrassing ourselves. When I think back to the Spring of '96 with our home series with highly ranked FSU and we got 47 outs by K's out of 81, I believe Jack was the coach and I don't recall him throwing not one pitch. He has taken us to the top (almost) and shouldn't be fired for 2 bad games in Nashville. Let's see how next year goes and then talk about his future at Clemson. This is a knee jerk reaction to a couple of real lousy games.

35802tiger writes:

I believe the program has been in decline for several years. If going to Omaha is the goal, this is the first class that will not have experienced achievement of that goal. Let's face it, we were fortunate to even make the field this year. I do not personally know Jack Leggett, but he comes across to me as arrogant and egotistical. As long as he is winning, we tend to dismiss his personality as eccentric. If he really believes that only 5% of the fans are not supportive I would suggest he seek a new pollster.

fasttiger44#293363 writes:

in response to 35802tiger:

I believe the program has been in decline for several years. If going to Omaha is the goal, this is the first class that will not have experienced achievement of that goal. Let's face it, we were fortunate to even make the field this year. I do not personally know Jack Leggett, but he comes across to me as arrogant and egotistical. As long as he is winning, we tend to dismiss his personality as eccentric. If he really believes that only 5% of the fans are not supportive I would suggest he seek a new pollster.

You may be right in everything you said. He does seem as though his ego is very large and due to his past success thinks he may be invincible. He may be, at least for this year. I do believe he should get at least one more year. As far as fundamentals go, these are Div 1 players in a big time program. Shouldn't they already know basic fundamentals? They looked like a little league team on defense all weekend. That was awful.

33dtb writes:

in response to fasttiger44#293363:

Yes, we played horribly in Nashville but, should Jake get fired over it? I personally think he deserves at least one more year. We have been too good for too long a period of time to get rid of the coach for playing defense like a little league team all weekend and embarrassing ourselves. When I think back to the Spring of '96 with our home series with highly ranked FSU and we got 47 outs by K's out of 81, I believe Jack was the coach and I don't recall him throwing not one pitch. He has taken us to the top (almost) and shouldn't be fired for 2 bad games in Nashville. Let's see how next year goes and then talk about his future at Clemson. This is a knee jerk reaction to a couple of real lousy games.

....."deserves at least one more year" ???????

can you say tommy bowden ??????????

waran writes:

I think he WAS a great coach who is past his prime. Like many he does not know when it is time to quit.

I am more concerned about the objective coverage of Clemson sports reporters. Would their access be decreased (see a previous report on this topic) if they advocate a change in coaching and does not happen.

fasttiger44#293363 writes:

Tommy Bowden never took us to a BCS bowl and going go Omaha is about equal to that in the baseball world. Without Jack's great record, I'm sure his job would be in major jeopardy as we speak. But he has and he's not going to bet fired over our performance this past weekend. I don't think but he may.

KIMOSAMI (Inactive) writes:

If Gossett and Crownover both come back the team should be better...if the team performs and doesn't do as it did this weekend(and season).

I think he deserves a chance to right the ship as well. But with the talent in Clemson, that chance means next year, and a lot better.

BigBud52 writes:

If he wants to stick around, give him the rowing job. He may win a national championship in that. He has had this team going backwards for the last 4 years.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

Enough already ! Time to make a change.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to fasttiger44#293363:

Tommy Bowden never took us to a BCS bowl and going go Omaha is about equal to that in the baseball world. Without Jack's great record, I'm sure his job would be in major jeopardy as we speak. But he has and he's not going to bet fired over our performance this past weekend. I don't think but he may.

I tend to judge a coach on what he's done compared to his predecessor and compared to the program's modern history. Jack Leggett has half of Clemson's CWS appearances and more than half of Clemson's NCAA tournament appearances. He hasn't made the CWS finals but Clemson has never done that. He's made the NCAA tournament every year but 1. I think it's fair to say that the golden age of Clemson baseball has been under Jack Leggett. Throw in the fact that he's won 1300 games and you've got about as credible a college baseball coach as you're going to find. What does firing him do? Who are you going to bring in that's stupid enough to follow a guy who got fired after winning 1300 games? Baseball coaches don't just forget how to coach. Unlike football and basketball, the game hasn't changed. There's a reason why the best baseball coaches are usually older. They've been around long enough to have been in about every situation imaginable. I'm not one to defend Clemson's coaches. I'm still convinced you've got the wrong coaches in football and basketball to get where you want to go (except maybe in the case of basketball where apathy rules).

It would be BEYOND STUPID to fire a coach as successful as Leggett right on the heels of giving the basketball coach a 6-year contract with a 3-5 million dollar buyout for achieving less than his predecessor.

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