Dan Radakovich: “Earlier today, I met with Jack Leggett and decided to make a change as it related to our head coaching position. This decision was not an easy one, but after the last few years, it was my decision to introduce a fresh approach to our program.
Jack has meant so much to this program over the last 22 years as head coach. I could not do justice to the impact he’s made on our program. His contributions as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Bill Wilhelm, followed by becoming a Hall of Fame coach himself, speak to these achievements. Many players have been beneficiaries of Jack’s leadership and service, and for that Clemson will always be grateful.
This decision was not an easy one. There’s no denying the successes of our program in the past have placed Clemson Baseball in position to compete for championships. With that in mind, my evaluation came down to this: I think we can be better. Clemson Baseball is a premier brand, positioned well for the near future. Following the great work of Coaches Wilhelm and Leggett, this is a program that has been built upon a solid foundation. We have high expectations for our baseball team, and we will find the right coach and continue to improve on that tradition of excellence. We need to inject some new momentum and create optimism around our baseball program. I’m confident that in our search for a new head coach we will find someone who will bring that excitement to our fans and student-athletes.”
Q: Was there an opportunity for Coach Leggett to remain, given certain changes? Can you provide any insight?
DR: We have an end of the year evaluation with our coaches. I do that and have some feedback from the coach. After we had that conversation earlier in the week, we discussed staying the same course. That’s the head coach’s prerogative. I made the decision at that point in time to change direction.
Q: Have you begun the search, and do you have a timetable on announcing the next head coach?
DR: First of all, this is not an easy day. The short answer to your question is, ‘No.’ I would hope today is about the great work Jack has done the last 24 years as part of the Clemson community. We’ll get to the other. There will be a time for looking at and moving forward with a replacement.
Q: What type of feedback did you receive from current and former players?
DR: Certainly, the current players that I had an opportunity to speak with were very supportive of their coach. And I would expect no less from any student-athletes at Clemson. That speaks to the type of responsibility and organization our baseball program has had. Beyond that group, I talked a little bit about where we’ve trended the past couple of years. College baseball is incredibly difficult right now. Major League Baseball and NCAA rules have created some real parity within college baseball. But as I looked beyond that — you have a great university with outstanding tradition, and you have good facilities that are about to get even better and we play in one of the best leagues in the country — where’s Clemson’s place in that? And it needs to be at or near the top, competing for championships.
Q: This University has had two baseball coaches the past 60 years. How much did that factor into the decision?
DR: This was more about where we are now, and moving forward. Coach Wilhelm’s accomplishments and Jack’s accomplishments are very well known, and noteworthy. But it’s really about where we’re moving from here.
Q: A year ago you outlined some changes for Coach Leggett. How would you evaluate those changes over the past 12 months?
DR: When I evaluate a coach, we talk back and forth and have a dialogue. The four tenets we discussed were part of that dialogue. They were my best suggestions, given my experiences, of what might help the program. I’m not sitting down each day and using a check mark to determine if he accomplished this or that. I know Coach Leggett went out and talked with other schools and coaches, and that was good. He’s had more interaction with student-athletes. I can’t tell you whether we filled that particular bucket with a check mark. At the end of the day, it’s about where we are today. In my estimation, we needed to look forward and make a change.
Q: What’s the plan for this transitional period with the staff?
DR: Bradley LeCroy, who as many of you know is our chief recruiter, will be a key focal point moving forward. I’ve had an opportunity to talk to Bradley, and he’s asked about the permanent position. I encouraged him to apply for it. We’ll see where that goes. But in the short run, a lot of the communication with recruits and whatnot will go through Bradley. Also, Brad Owens will stay on board as director of operations. Dan Pepicelli’s contract is up at the end of the month, but we would look to Dan to help in the transitional period as well. But, Bradley is the focal point.
Q: What type of qualities are you looking for in the next Clemson baseball coach?
DR: We haven’t exhausted that list yet. To be real honest, this [decision] has taken up all the time. Certainly, you want someone that has shown the ability to win games, to recruit quality student-athletes and be a great representative of Clemson. Those are all things that we’ll look for in the next leader of the baseball program. Those are just some, not an exhaustive list. We’ll put that together in the coming days.
Q: Is Clemson’s spending with regards to baseball where it needs to be within the ACC, and on a national level?
DR: We’ve done some benchmarking. USA Today recently released its financial database. In talking with our Chief Financial Officer Graham Neff, our expenses are third within the Atlantic Coast Conference. There are other metrics inside of that, where we are higher or lower in some cases. But overall, we’re third as it relates to expenditures within the ACC.
April 18, 2019
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