CLEMSON (WCSC) - After 22 seasons as the head coach of the Clemson baseball team, Jack Leggett will not return to the Tigers for the 2016 seasons Athletic Director Dan Radakovich announced on Thursday morning.
Leggett has solidified himself as one of the best head coaches of the last few decades by winning 955 games in his time at Clemson and helping the team advance to the College World Series 6 times.
But the coach had come under fire the last few seasons having been unable to advance the team past the NCAA Regionals since 2010.
"This decision was not an easy one," Radakovich said. "Jack Leggett has served this institution with distinction for 24 years, the last 22 as head coach. It's fair to say Clemson Baseball has been competitive over the last few years, but our objective is success, defined by competing for ACC Championships and winning in the NCAA Tournament. I have high expectations – and I know our fans and student-athletes have great expectations – for our baseball program."
In what turned out to be his final season, Leggett led Clemson to a 32-29 record that included, barely, getting into the NCAA Regionals before dropping their only 2 games in Fullerton to end the year.
Leggett was hired by Clemson in 1994 after stints at Vermont and Western Carolina. His combined 1,332 wins gives him the 10th most all-time and 5th most among active coaches. He won 8 regional titles and made 6 trips to Omaha, all of which contributed to Leggett being elected to the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2014.
Players from this year's Tigers team paid tribute to their former coach on social media shortly after the news broke.
Ace pitcher Matthew Crownover tweeted "Today Clemson let an icon go. We lost our Joe Torre. We lost the face of Clemson baseball. #7 is Clemson baseball"
Infielder Tyler Krieger tweeted "Wouldn't want to play for anyone else. Its about more than just baseball. One love to teammates and coaches"
Junior Outfielder Steven Duggar tweeted "Just wanted to say thank you for all you did for our program coach. Proud to be a Clemson Tiger"
Catcher Chris Okey tweeted "Stand next to you any day of the week 7. You the man and thank you for everything. Much Love"
Radakovich said the search for Leggett's replacement will begin immediately. One name almost certain to come up will be College of Charleston head coach Monte Lee. Another name that has been mentioned is Louisville head coach, and The Citadel alum, Dan McDonnell.