Monte Lee has spent his entire coaching career in South Carolina. So, it stands to reason that when he was looking for a new place to work, he’d choose a familiar spot. SportsTalkSC has learned that the former head coach at Clemson will be returning to USC as associate head coach/recruiting coordinator for Gamecocks head coach Mark Kingston.
Lee is expected to replace assistant Chad Caillet, who is reportedly retiring from baseball to spend more time with his family. The potential of the Lee hire was first tweeted Thursday afternoon by @TheSpursUpShow.
“I would like to thank Chad for being everything we hoped he would be,” Kingston said in a media release. “His work has set us up to be very successful as we move forward. We admire his decision to meet the needs of his family and wish them well moving forward. We are fortunate that Monte is available to return to the Gamecock family. I have respected his work for a long time, and welcome his passion, experience, and knowledge to our team. I look forward to many great days ahead.”
According to sources close to the situation, the decision actually came down at the end of last week. Lee decided to go with the Gamecocks despite sizing up an opportunity with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
“I am super excited to come back to Columbia and help Coach Kingston, the staff, and most importantly the players in our pursuit to get back to Omaha,” Lee said.
Lee served as the head coach at Clemson from 2016-2022, compiling a 242-136 record with the Tigers. During his seven seasons at Clemson, the Tigers made the NCAA Tournament every year from 2016 to 2019, winning the ACC championship in his first season. He also guided Clemson to a regular-season ACC title in 2018. However, missing the postseason in back-to-back campaigns was his undoing, as Lee was fired by the Tigers in May.
The 45-year-old began his coaching career as an assistant at Spartanburg Methodist, prior to being an assistant at USC from 2003-2008. During his tenure in Columbia, the Gamecocks advanced to the NCAA tournament each year and reached the College World Series twice.
Lee then took over as head coach of his alma mater, the College of Charleston, in 2009. In just his second season, the Cougars broke the 40-win mark and reached the NCAA tournament. At the Myrtle Beach Regional, CofC advanced to the regional final with wins over third-seeded NC State and the top-seed Coastal Carolina. However, the Chanticleers eliminated the Cougars with back-to-back victories in the championship round.
Just a few years later, the team shared the 2012 Southern Conference regular season crown and advanced to another NCAA postseason. On the strength of his performance in Charleston, Lee was named the head coach at Clemson baseball in June of 2015.