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Coach Leggett Chat Transcript

Coach Leggett Chat Transcript

 Coach Jack Leggett has led Clemson to 434 wins, more than 48 per season, nine NCAA Tournament berths, and four College World Series appearances.

Coach Leggett Chat Transcript

Leggett has led Clemson to 434 wins, more than 48 per season, nine NCAA Tournament berths, and four College World Series appearances. Clemson is the third-winningest program in college baseball during his time as head coach.

The enthusiastic mentor, who turns 49 on March 5, has not built up that win total against easy competition. Of his 434 victories, 111 (nearly 26 percent) have come against teams ranked in the top 25 of at least one of the three major polls heading into the game. He also already has 59 victories over top-10 teams and 35 wins in NCAA Tournament competition. Heading into 2003, Leggett has 811 career wins.

The 2002 season saw Leggett receive region Coach-of-the-Year honors by the American Basebal Coaches Association, as the Tigers were 54-17 and finished tied for third in the nation in Omaha. The road back to Omaha will begin this Friday for the Tigers at Auburn and continue next Wednesday, February 26, in the home opener against Charleston Southern at 3:00.

Coach Leggett won’t be stopping by until 10:00 AM on Wednesday, but you can submit your questions now.

Moderator: Welcome to the moderated chat room. Coach Leggett is here and ready for your questions.
Winston-Salem: What is the greatest challenge to repeating or improving on last years success? (hitting or pitching)
Coach Leggett: The biggest challenge is replacing our hitters. With Baker, Khalil and Schmidt, we’ve lost some power, so we’re going to have to manufacture runs and scoring in different ways. Replacing a shortstop like Khalil is probably the most difficult test on defense. Losing Henrie and Reba is also a tough task. I like the chemistry and we’ve got some different type of athleticism that will be exciting to watch.
Erik Wist (Atlanta): Hi Coach, I’ll be coming to the big game March 1 (USC). I would like to know what to expect from the new facilities.
Coach Leggett: You’ll be able to get to your seats and it will look great, but not totally finished. A lot of the concrete in the back of the stadium probably won’t be finished. It will still look good and we’ll be able to accommodate everyone on the 1st. If you haven’t seen any of the renovations yet, its going to be a shock to you.
Reston,Virginia: What are the greatest strengths for this season?
Coach Leggett: Pitching depth, I think we’ll have some speed offensively and we always seem to play very consistent defense. I think our team chemistry is good and I know we’ll play hard.
David Kesser (Charleston): Coach my question deals with the shortstop position and not so much offensively but defensively who do you think is going to be able to play that position as well as Khalil did. Good luck with the season coach and you’re doing a great job.
Coach Leggett: Right now, Russell Triplett, Herman Demmink are the leading candidates at shortstop. One has more experience, one has a great upside. I think what we’ll do early in the season is get them both out there and see who will win the job. Both are capable, but duplicating Khalil’s defense will be a tough task.
Jim (Huntington Beach, CA): Coach, who do you anticipate to be the toughest teams in the ACC this year and why?
Coach Leggett: Georgia Tech has good pitching and a very athletic team and will probably be the most talented team. Florida State always has good pitching and strengths on offense and defense as well. Wake Forest will be strong on the mound and has some good offensive players as well. All the other teams, including UNC, NC State, Virginia, Maryland and Duke, can beat anyone on any given day. It is a tough conference.
Matt Finley (Simpsonville, SC): How effective will Michael Johnson be at first base and in the batters box coming off of his leg injury?
Coach Leggett: Michael Johnson is feeling really good and his ankle has bounced back to almost 100 percent. He is swinging the bat well and moving as well as we would expect. He’s worked very hard and deserves a great year.
Robbie Page, Charlotte, NC: Coach Leggett, thank you for the way that you lead our program with class and enthusiasm! I was wondering if you could give us any insight into this year’s pitching rotation? (1-2-3; and midweek). Thanks, and go tigers!!!
Coach Leggett: This weekend against Auburn, we’ll start Jeff Harhn in Game 1, Tyler Lumsden in Game 2, and Steven Jackson in Game 3. Jason Berken and Kris Harvey are two freshmen that will see a lot of action on the mound as well during the mid-week and possibly weekends before the season is over. Paul Harrelson and Aaron Trolia are pitching very well in relief as are several others at this point. I like our depth and I think our roles will start to solidify after a couple of weeks.
Jonathan (Clemson): What’s it like coaching your son?
Coach Leggett: It is great to be able to go to practice each day and see Tanner out there even though its been a little frustrating for him coming back from shoulder surgery. Eventually he’ll be fine and I think will develop into a good middle infielder for us. He’s worked hard to get back to throwing but is not quite there yet. I think it’s a great environment for him to be involved in and I know he enjoys being a part of this team. Selfishly, it makes a great job even better.
Joshua Wall, Central: Coach Leggett, Other than Mr. Johnson, who appears to be the best offensive help for this season? Thanks in advance and I look forward to watching in the new facility! Go Tiger Baseball!!!!!
Coach Leggett: Newcomer Brad McCann at third base swings real well. Robert Valiente, Zane Green, Kyle Frank and Garrick Evans have all looked good in the preseason. If they continue into the season, we should put the ball in play and be exciting on the bases. They will provide help for Michael and protect in front and in back of him.
Johnny (Mobile): Coach, do you plan on sliding into your players prior to the season opener at Auburn?
Coach Leggett: Sliding into the players is a home field deal and always spontaneous. I do have to admit since breaking my neck three years ago, that I have to evaluate the consequences ahead of time. It is just something I did a while back and am too crazy to let it go, although each time I do it, I come back to the dugout and swear I’ll never do it again.
John (Greenville): Coach, we have a few more road games on the docket this season. Will that make it more difficult for this younger team to develop?
Coach Leggett: Road games are a way of finding out what your team’s toughness will be and it should be a good test for us this year as we do play some tough games on the road. We always try to balance our schedule so our fans can see us play, make it easier for the kids in school and create a challenge so that we will be tournament-tough at the end.
Steve Notery (Buffalo): Coach I love your pitching depth. But I was wondering about Patrick Hogan, he had a great season last year and I was wondering if you see him more as a closer or possibly a starter later on down the road.
Coach Leggett: Patrick Hogan is a great leader and hard worker and is coming off some arm surgery in the fall. We expect him to pitch some strong innings for us this year as a reliever and starter and always have confidence that he is competing at the highest level when he takes the mound. Recently in practice, his velocity has not quite been there, so I’m thinking that he’s got a little ways to go to be at 100 percent effectiveness for us. He’ll be there, though, in the long run. He is a very tough competitor.
Michael Mathis, Charleston, SC: Which of the tigers’ opponents outside of the ACC poses the greatest challenge for the team this year?
Coach Leggett: Auburn has a very tough team with great pitching. South Carolina is also a good challenge for us and Georgia plays us tough. But some of the other mid-week games we play, including Western Carolina, Coastal Carolina, and a weekend series with Old Dominion, should all be very tough as well. Now a days, everybody you play can beat you on any given day if you’re not laying it all on the line. Our job is to play consistently tough and aggressive baseball.
Coach Leggett: That’s all for now. Thanks for your interest and we will look forward to seeing you at the home opener on the 26th vs. Charleston Southern. As a note of interest, I will call after every game within an hour and a half to our TIGER LINE at 864-656-8443. When you hear the prompt press 2 for baseball. You will hear me give a recap of the game and how the players did and what’s up next on our schedule. Go Tigers! – Jack.
Moderator: Thank you for visiting the chat room and your interest in Tiger Baseball, which kicks off its season this Friday at 4:00 PM EST at Auburn. You can follow the game on by clicking on the LiveStats link that will be available for every game.