There was nothing unusual about Jack Leggett and Dan Radakovich meeting after the season’s close last week.
But the occasion drew its fair share of attention as results not meeting expectations has become far from unusual for a proud Clemson baseball program.
Radakovich discussed its future with a number of folks on the inside and the periphery and found a “solid” culture where there’s still room to grow and move back up the ranks.
Avoiding a definition of insanity scenario, however, Radakovich and Leggett keyed in on some areas for change, ranging from on-field (practice structure, etc.), to around the field (facilities) and off the field (academic support in a non-full-scholarship sport).
“I’ve been doing this for 37 years and I’m not beyond learning and trying to figure some new things out,” Leggett said on statewide radio Tuesday. “Approach things in a different way here or there. It would be crazy if I was set in stone. I think that’s why we have such a great relationship with our players and they’re loyal and our former players are extremely loyal and coach (Bill) Wilhelm’s players are loyal."
“(Radakovich) asked a lot of questions and I gave him a lot of answers. There’s subtle things that I feel we can do better. That’s something that hopefully we see that on the field and hopefully see some results on the field that’s better. One of the things we have to continue to improve on is academically with the Academic Common Market, facilities and so forth. Certainly some things inside that we can try to do better on the field with our players and practice-wise going forward.”
Radakovich went into more detail Wednesday with a group of reporters, outlining the need for sports psychologists, a player’s council among more smaller changes.
Leggett said he didn’t feel like his job was in danger going into the chats, which set the proper tone for a healthy discussion.
“When we had our first meeting it was man-to-man and it was done with respect on both sides,” Leggett said. “It was a fact-finding, what can we do to make things a little better at the end – what do we do well? These are the things that I know baseball program from his end and these are the things that I know about the baseball program from my end. What we have to do to get to where we want to be at the very end of the season.
“We felt comfortable in our talks. I thought they were done respectfully. I felt we were in the same common goal to make things a little bit better and to improve.”
In the wake of last week’s MLB draft, Clemson has lost two juniors (shortstop Jay Baum signed with Seattle; righty ace Daniel Gossett with Oakland) and one more could follow (C/DH Garrett Boulware).
The Tigers are in line to return their leader in average, runs, doubles and OBP (INF/DH Tyler Krieger - .338/49 R/11 2B/.410 OBP), stolen bases and triples (RF Steven Duggar – 25 SB/3 3B) and walks (CF Tyler Slaton – 42 BB/3 3B). Sophomore lefthander Matthew Crownover is likely to return to anchor the weekend staff after a team-best K:BB ratio (4.5). The key loss out of the bullpen is closer Matt Campbell (19 career saves).
Leggett maintains a united front going forward – fans, players, coaches, administration – will again reap rewards on the Doug Kingsmore diamond.
“The passion of our fans – they love Clemson baseball and they’re committed to it,” said Leggett. “At the same time, it’s really important for all of us to be positive. In the end, it serves the program best. It serves the university and athletic department best. I think we have a really good track record in the past of what we’ve done with players and how they’ve developed and how successful we’ve been.
“I think if we all work together in that vein – there’s a lot of great things ahead for Clemson baseball.”