July 8, 2015

Clemson’s Monte Lee rounds out his coaching staff

Andrew See

Andrew See

Head coach Monte Lee added four assistants to his staff, announced Tuesday. Lee, who was named head coach on June 18, retained Bradley LeCroy as recruiting coordinator. Lee also named Andrew See as pitching coach, Greg Starbuck as volunteer assistant and retained Brad Owens as director of baseball operations.

“I’m very excited about my three assistant coaches along with Brad Owens,” said Lee. “Retaining Coach LeCroy was a no-brainer. He’s a Clemson guy and is very experienced in the day-to-day operations of Tiger baseball. He has a long history of recruiting and coaching at a high level.

“Coach See is one of the best, young pitching coaches in the country. He has the ability to recruit nationally and has done so for a number of years. His pitchers at Duke in recent years were some of the best in school history.

“Coach Starbuck may be one of the best volunteer assistants in the country based on his resumé. He has 17 seasons of experience at the Division I level and is an excellent evaluator of talent.

“Brad Owens will continue to hold the position of director of operations. He assists with team travel, camps and many administrative duties. He is very organized and works extremely hard.”

LeCroy, who has served as an assistant at Clemson for eight seasons over two stints (2003-05,11-15), will work with the infielders and assist with the hitters along with his duties as recruiting coordinator. He has helped recruit several top-20 classes in recent years. In both 2014 and 2015, he coached five hitters to All-ACC seasons, including First-Team All-ACC catcher Chris Okey in 2015. LeCroy, 37, also has coaching experience at Tennessee (2008-10) and Western Carolina (2006,07). LeCroy, a Clemson graduate (2001) and four-year letterman as a Tiger, is married to wife, Meredith. The couple has two sons, Crew and Cooper.

See, 36, spent the previous three seasons (2013-15) as Duke’s pitching coach. Despite his top-two starters suffering injuries in 2015, that staff had a 3.29 ERA. In 2014, the Blue Devil staff had a 3.14 ERA, the program’s best mark since 1971 and its first sub-4.00 ERA since 1993. Those two ERAs are the best Blue Devil marks since the advent of aluminum bats. See also served as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Ohio from 2007-12 after being an assistant at Appalachian State (2005,06) and UNC Greensboro (2004). See, who played three seasons (1999-01) at Ohio, graduated from Ohio in 2002 and is married to wife, Shauna.

Starbuck, 51, served as an assistant coach at Elon for 17 seasons (1999-15), including 11 years as associate head coach. Starbuck, who will work with the hitters and baserunning along with assisting with the infielders and catchers, was Elon’s recruiting coordinator and served as the primary hitting instructor. Starbuck played at UNC Asheville (1985,86) as a shortstop for two years after transferring from Montreat (1983,84). He received his degree from Winston-Salem State in 1991. He and his wife, April, have three sons, McGwire, Banks and Jackson, and a daughter, Brettlyn.

Owens has served as director of baseball operations at Clemson for eight seasons (2008-15). His duties include all team travel, camps and many other administrative duties. Owens, 31, lettered four times as a righthander at Anderson (S.C.) before graduating in 2006.

Citing family issues, Clemson’s Isaiah Battle enters NFL Supplemental Draft (UPDATE: It was drug related)

Dabo Swinney may have to start a true freshman on the offensive line.

Dabo Swinney may have to start a true freshman on the offensive line.

Senior offensive tackle Isaiah Battle will enter the NFL Supplemental Draft. Head Coach Dabo Swinney made the announcement on Thursday.

“I have some family matters to address, with a child due this summer, and I feel it is in my best interest to enter the NFL Supplemental Draft,” Battle said. “I want to thank everyone at Clemson, especially Coach Swinney and the assistant coaches, for what they have done for me the last three years. I also want to thank my teammates. They have all had a big impact on my career.”

Battle played in 27 games for the Tigers, 16 as a starter, over the last three years. That included 11 starts in 12 games last season on Clemson’s 10-3 team that ranked 15th in the final polls. He started four games on Clemson’s top-10 team of 2013 and played in five games as a freshman in 2012.

Battle came off the bench to play 73 snaps when Gifford Timothy was injured early against LSU in the 2012 Chick-Fil-A Bowl, helping the Tigers to a 25-24 win.

“We appreciate all that Isaiah has done for the program the last three years,” Swinney said. “He has made great progress in his development and has been a big contributor to our success the last three years, especially in each of the last three bowl games when he had outstanding games against very talented defensive lines from LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma. We wish him well in his pursuit of a professional career.”

Swinney said Battle’s departure will open an opportunity for true freshman Mitch Hyatt.

“This will create a great opportunity for Mitch as a true freshman,” Swinney said. “We liked what we saw from Mitch in the spring, and look forward to seeing his progress in August. We have other young offensive linemen who will also have a new opportunity for playing time.”

Clemson has not started a true freshman on the offensive line for the course of the season since 2004 when Barry Richardson started seven of the 11 games.

UPDATE:

According to The ClemsonInsider.com Battle was dismissed from the team following a citation for possession of marijuana.

Clemson PK Ammon Lakip facing DUI & cocaine possession charges (UPDATE: Clemson responds)

Ammon Lakip

Ammon Lakip

Clemson placekicker Ammon Lakip was arrested June 6th in Clemson and charged with possession of cocaine and driving under the influence.  Both charges are listed as a first offense for Lakip according to the public arrest record.

Lakip was booked at the Clemson city jail and released on a $2500 personal recognizance bond.

Lakip is the second Clemson football player known to be arrested this off season.  Defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko was dismissed from the team in May after his arrest for one count of financial transaction fraud.  He has since enrolled at Tennessee State.

Lakip was Clemson’s starting placekicker last season and was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award.  He was 21-28 on field goals and 43-44 on extra points.

There has been no action reported from the Clemson football office regarding Lakip since his arrest.

UPDATE:

Clemson has released a statement on Lakip’s arrest.

Clemson, S.C.—Clemson kicker Ammon Lakip has been suspended from the Clemson football team indefinitely in connection with his arrest earlier this month.   “We are aware of Ammon’s arrest, and he was suspended from all team activities and sent home immediately,” said Swinney.  “He has been suspended indefinitely.  His status for the 2015 season will be evaluated later in the summer.”   Lakip started all 13 games for Clemson last year and was 21-28 on field goals, including 13 in a row at one point, and 43-44 on extra points.  He led the Clemson team in scoring with 106 points.  He served as the backup kicker in 2012 and 2013.

Here’s the official police report on the arrest:

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A SportsTalk exclusive with new Clemson baseball coach Monte Lee (AUDIO)

Monte Lee joined SportsTalk for the first time as Clemson's baseball coach Monday night.

Monte Lee joined SportsTalk for the first time as Clemson’s baseball coach Monday night.

Last Thursday Clemson announced they’d found a new leader for the Tiger baseball team, but the school decided to hold off on an official press conference due to the events in Charleston.

Monday morning Clemson officially announced former College of Charleston coach Monte Lee as their new head baseball coach inside the West Zone at Memorial Stadium.

Coach Lee has been a frequent guest of SportsTalk during his successful stint while coaching the Cougars.  He was 276-145 as the head man at his alma mater, and took CofC to the postseason four times.  Tonight was our first crack at coach as a cat with stripes.

Coach’s excitement was evident from the jump.  We discussed all of the standard transition questions with him regarding the move to a new place, a destination that happens to be a team he used to coach against in the greatest baseball rivalry in the country as a member of Ray Tanner’s staff at USC.  He touched on his relationship with current USC coach Chad Holbrook, what he’s outlined as his biggest priorities since arriving in Clemson, and we even talked uniforms, juxtaposing progress and tradition, and more.

AUDIO: Monte Lee [15:00]

 

Lee excited about the opportunity to run Clemson baseball (AUDIO)

Monte Lee

Monte Lee

Clemson introduced Monte Lee as its new baseball coach Monday morning at a press conference inside the WestZone at Memorial Stadium.  Lee actually was announced as the Tigers’ new coach last Thursday but the press conference was delayed out of respect for the Charleston shooting.

The 38 year old Lee comes to Clemson after a highly successful seven year run at his alma mater The College of Charleston.  Lee was 276-145 with the Cougars including four NCAA Tournament appearances.  His 2014 squad made the super regional round.

Lee has retained Bradley LeCroy from the previous staff and is in the midst of hiring a pitching coach.  He wanted to bring Matt Heath with him from Charleston but Heath is going to replace him as the Cougars’ head coach.  Lee acknowledged one candidate he has talked with is Matt Williams of UNC-Wilmington.  He hopes to name his pitching coach within a couple of days.

Lee becomes the 27th baseball coach in Clemson’s history but only the third in the last 60 years.  He picks up the torch from Jack Leggett who was fired after 22 seasons including 21 NCAA Tournament and 6 College world Series appearances.

AUDIO: Dan Radakovich introduces Monte Lee as Clemson’s baseball coach [23:43]

AUDIO: Monte Lee talks with reporters after press conference [4:56]