Monte Lee on 2019 season: "I'm not satisfied. I'm certainly disappointed"
|Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 2:14 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Clemson head coach baseball coach Monte Lee didn’t hold back during his end-of-season press conference at Doug Kingsmore Stadium Tuesday morning, and he admitted that last season was not a success.
The Tigers hit the 40-win mark and hosted an NCAA Regional in each of Lee’s first three seasons at the helm of the Clemson program. In his first season in 2016, Clemson won the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2006.
Year four was a different story. After looking like a team that could contend for a national seed during the first half, the second half of the season was marred by a long losing streak that caused the team to spend the last month on the NCAA bubble, and the team failed to win 40 games for the first time under Lee.
The program hasn’t been to an NCAA Super Regional since 2010. In the nine years from 2002 - 2010, Clemson won six regionals and made three College World Series appearances. Since then the Tigers have been bounced in the regional round in nine consecutive seasons.
In 2019, the Tigers lost to Jacksonville St. in the losers’ bracket game at Ole Miss to finish out an injury-riddled season.
“Is it a success? I certainly would say we're not satisfied with how the season went and in my mind, the answer would be no,” Lee told TigerNet. “That would be my answer. I'm not satisfied. I'm certainly disappointed and frustrated with how our season went. There's a lot of things that we need to improve upon. You're going to say that after every year though, you know. Bear in mind, if you don't go to the College World Series, there are things you need to improve upon.”
That doesn’t mean the season was a total loss.
“There are always positives. You know, we made it to the postseason again,” Lee said. “I think we're one of 13 teams that's made it to the postseason four consecutive years and one of four or five to make it in the last 11. So, there are some good things about getting into the postseason. We all know that. But to get beat in the regional round again, and have a 35-win team based on where we were at the halfway point, how the second half of our season went is certainly not up to my standards as a head coach and our players, either.
“And that's not to say anything negative about our players. I think our players understand the expectations of the program and where we want to get to. We didn't reach that. I think we're all disappointed with how the season ended and with the second half of the season. We were unable to right the ship for a long period of time. We showed spurts in the second half of the year, but we were unable to get back on a hot streak again in the second half of the year. So, that falls on me as a coach. I've got to find a way. And one of the things in my notes that we have to improve upon going into next year is to find a way for a lot of our players and our team to get better in the second half of the season.”
Lee said the team struggled in all phases of the game in the second half.
For whatever reason, the second half of the year, I didn't think we were as good defensively or offensively. I didn't think we were as good on the mound as we should have been,” he said. “And that certainly is on us as coaches, we've got to find a way to continue to develop our guys throughout the season and get better as the season goes on. Now, the second half of the year, we weren't a real good team on a lot of days, and we need to find a way to get better. It didn't end the way that I wanted it to. It's certainly disappointing, and we must improve.”
*NOTE: We spent almost 40 minutes with Lee going over the state of the program and more stories will follow. Some quick hits - he has spoken with AD Dan Radakovich about expectations and said he will keep those conversations private. He expects no changes to his staff. He also said he expects a deeper pitching staff in 2020, and every pitcher on the roster will get a chance to start. More to come.