Monte Lee: Painful Downside of Circle of Coaching

It’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks for the Clemson Baseball program.

The Tiger faithful watched in disappointment as their team flopped in the ACC Tournament. Then, the firing of head coach Monte Lee and numerous players lined up to enter the transfer portal. Somewhere in all the shuffling, there are those painful and the inevitable goodbyes.

Whether a coach is adorned and respected like Dabo Swinney and Danny Ford or a total disappointment like a number of former basketball coaches, parting ways marks a period of grief. Just for full disclosure, I usually write about subjects I possess only cursory knowledge, but not this subject. I know grief up close, personal and professionally, all too well.

Some will scoff at the notion that the mere firing of a coach can be grief worthy but they’d be wrong. How about Lee and his family? His current and former players? This is a painful moment in time for them. They will get over it, so will all involved. Time, distance and winning heals all.

Fans always view coaches differently. Some are loved, some are reviled, some respected and others made the brunt of a thousand jokes. Most coaches understands it comes with the job but still, it must be hard. They never intended to fail, despite failing. They never wanted to leave this way, down the path of being fired. It just happened.

Every coach leaves, it’s inevitable. Whether by retirement, choosing new opportunities, death, or by being fired, coaches once in the spotlight in an instant, just fade into memory, taking their place in history or infamy.

Coaches come and go and fans are always either for or against the said coach and unfortunately, the coaches humanity and that of their family matters little. It’s all about winning, and never a thought given to the carnage of failure. It’s tough, it’s sad but it is reality. It’s the downside of the circle of coaching.

There will come a day, for whatever reason, Swinney will say goodbye and like Ford before him, it will be huge. Very painful but inevitable. We all have to say goodbye at some point.

So, as Lee and his family leave Clemson and the moving vans fade off into the sunset, just remember he never came here to fail. Everyone deserves the opportunity to leave with two things, our thanks and his dignity, no matter success nor failure, they also deserve respect for their efforts.

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