In Monte Lee’s first interview after being let go at Clemson, the head coach went into great detail about how he viewed his time with the Tigers.
Lee joined Phil Kornblut’s SportsTalk after his dismissal, telling the longtime radio host that the past seven years at Clemson were a dream come true
“Everyone has been A-plus and it’s been a dream come true,” Lee said. “It’s a very, very tough day but it’s also a day of reflection and appreciation and one of gratitude for the opportunity I got here at Clemson.”
“As tough as it is to know I’ll no longer be the head baseball coach at Clemson, it’s been a lifelong dream and I’ve got a chance to live that dream for the last seven years and I can’t say how much I appreciate the opportunity that I’ve had here at Clemson.”
The Tigers missed regional play for the second season in a row, something that has not happened since the mid 1980s. This comes just one year removed from the program’s first losing season in decades.
While Lee was certainly disappointed that he will not get an opportunity to right the ship at Clemson, he said he knows this is a results based business, and that no one else but himself is accountable for the teams inability to live up to expectations the past two seasons.
“This is a business,” Lee said. “We’re in the business of winning games and the administration had thought we had not done enough in the last two years. I understand that. I embraced the expectations when I got the job here.
“I’m a 100% accountable guy. That’s the way I coach my team. I don’t place blame anywhere. You have to look at the man in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘Did I do everything that I could do?’ If I fail doing the best job like I could do, I have to be able to live with it. I’m proud of the things I was able to do at Clemson. Certainly disappointed that we did not fulfill some of the expectations that we had.”
Lee came to Clemson after a successful stint as the head coach at the College of Charleston, and has every intention on staying in coaching. What that looks like for next season and beyond, though, remains to be seen.
“Well, one thing I don’t do well with is time,” Lee said. “I’m not a big vacation guy. Take time off type guy. I like to be engaged and like to feel like I have something to wake up to in the morning that brings value to an organization and to a program. Look, I’ve been a coach all my life and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I certainly want to coach. I don’t know what that looks like. Whether it’s head coach or an assistant. Look, I was an assistant coach for eight years.”
“I feel like if anyone knows how it’s like to help a serve a head coach it’s me because I’ve been one for the last 14 years. I’m open to anything and everything right now.”
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“Just to be able to coach at such a fine institution and great academic school and great baseball program and tremendous fanbase. All the people involved and players I’ve gotten to coach, my coaching staff that I’ve gotten a chance to work with and the support staff here.”