Monte Lee was introduced as head coach of the Clemson baseball program Monday morning. Below is Lee’s opening statement of the press conference:
“What a day. I can’t tell everyone how excited I am to be here today. There’s a number of people I’d like to thank. I would like to thank president Jim Clements, athletic director Dan Radokovich and the board of trustees for giving me this opportunity. This is a dream job of mine. I don’t even know if I could put into words how excited I am about this opportunity for my family, for my friends and for myself. I’m extremely excited about it.
“I want to thank my family for being here today. My wife, Eryn, my four girls, Madie, Shelby, Blaire and Alexa, my mother is here today and my grandfather. I’m excited to have them here for me on such a special occasion. Two of my best friends and their families are here as well. I’d like to thank the College of Charleston for giving me an opportunity as a young man to be a head coach and all of my former players. That’s more important to me than anything…my relationships with the players that I will coach here at Clemson and all the players I’ve coached in the past. I’m a relationships-orientated person, first and foremost. All the coaches who I’ve worked under and worked with, all the administrators…I cannot thank them enough. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for them.
“Why Clemson? What is so attractive about this job and this opportunity for someone like me? I think one of the biggest things that stands out about Clemson is the tradition of this program and the consistency of this program. Our fanbase that comes to support our programs here at Clemson is second to none. When you look at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, and I’ve been here many times, it’s as rabid a fanbase as there is in all of college baseball. We really appreciate their support moving forward.
“The tradition of Clemson is second to none. It’s been led by two men over the last 58 years. When you look at what these two men accomplished over their careers at Clemson, it’s incredible. A total of 2,116 wins at Clemson between these two men. When you look at Bill Wilhelm…17 regular-season ACC championships, seven tournament championships, which is an ACC record, six trips to Omaha. His 1991 team won 60 games, which is an ACC record. The Clemson baseball program is in the top 10 in NCAA history in wins and has won more ACC titles than any other program. Jack Leggett, who Coach Wilhelm handed the torch to, 22 years, three ACC titles, six trips to Omaha, nine super regionals, 21 regionals. His 1994 team won 57 games, which is the second most in ACC history. That is tradition, and that is one of the main draws to Clemson for me…to be able to follow two great men.
“Who am I? I’m a South Carolina guy. I was born in the upstate of South Carolina, I was raised in Lugoff, South Carolina, and one of the things I’ve been very fortunate in my career is I’ve lived in South Carolina my whole life and I’ve coached in South Carolina my whole life. Not many people get that type of opportunity. Relationships are more important to me than anything, especially with my players. One thing I can promise you is that I will have tremendous relationships with my staff, the people that work here at Clemson, the fanbase and my players, because without them, I have nothing.
“Growing up in the state of South Carolina, we don’t have any professional sports. College baseball is huge in this state. When you grow up in South Carolina like I have, you’re on one side of the fence or the other. This rivalry is second to none in college baseball. We are going to do our best here at Clemson to recruit the kind of kids who can come in here and knock down that fence and play for us. The kids of South Carolina will be our utmost priority. We will recruit this state inside and out. We will also recruit nationally. We will go to all parts of this country to recruit the best and brightest student-athletes that we can find, because the Clemson brand is nationwide.
“What kind of teams will we have here at Clemson? There’s one thing that we can control day in and day out, and that’s our attitude and our effort. I can promise you that our players will come to the field every day, the classroom every day, in our community every day and in the weight room every day with a tremendous attitude and give this university and this program tremendous effort in everything that they do. We are going to recruit kids with tremendous makeup, kids who are grinders on the field, kids that will represent us on and off the field. We will play hard. We will play fast. And our teams will play extremely loose. We will enjoy gameday. All the hard work that goes into this program by the kids and coaches to get ready for the season, we want them to embrace and enjoy playing for Clemson University. I want every player in this program to look forward to coming to the field every single day.
“Our teams will always be on offense. Everything we do, we will be offensive. When we’re pitching, we will attack. On defense, we will attack. When we run the bases, we will attack. We will not do anything defensively when it comes to our mindset. We want players who have no fear of failure. This game is full of failure. We are going to eliminate the fear of failure from our players. We are going to get them to embrace it, accept it and play with full-out aggression. We are going to create an identity in this program. We will create an identity in our sport, in the classroom, in the community and in the weight room.
“We will have an acronym that will embrace all four areas. T.I.G.E.R.S. ‘T’ will be for toughness. Everything that we do, we will be tough. ‘I’ will be for integrity. We’re going to recruit kids with high moral compasses. ‘G’ is gratitude. Our players will be grateful for the opportunity here at Clemson. ‘E’ will be for excellence. We will strive for perfection in everything that we do. ‘R’ is for relentless. Our effort will be relentless in all phases of our identity. ‘S’ is for selfless. We will have a ‘we’ over ‘me’ mentality from the very beginning in everything that we do.
“I cannot thank you enough for this opportunity. Go Tigers!”
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