Leggett to Stay at Clemson

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Jack Leggett said Wednesday morning he is remaining at Clemson as the school's baseball coach, ending speculation he was on his way to either Texas A&M or Oklahoma.

Leggett, who confirmed he had spoken with both schools about their job openings, told Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips mid-morning Wednesday that he would stay at Clemson. This despite the fact that, at the moment, Leggett doesn't have a new contract fully negotiated.

"I'm going to stay here at Clemson. That's where my heart is," Leggett said Wednesday. "It was a hard decision for me because of some of the other opportunities. I haven't signed a contract here, but we're hoping that will work out.

"I'm putting lot of trust in Terry Don that he'll do the right thing."

Leggett has accumulated 555 of his more than 900 career victories since taking over the Clemson program 12 years ago. His teams have gone to the College World Series on four different occasions and have averaged 46 wins per season during his tenure.

But as reports of his talks with the Sooners and Aggies began to surface on Tuesday, sources said Leggett was in serious discussions with at least one of the two - most likely Oklahoma. In fact, one source said Leggett may have been within hours of scheduling a visit with the Sooner administration.

Part of Leggett's thoughts of leaving Clemson apparently centered around the disparity in his salary and that of his assistant coaches to those of South Carolina's Ray Tanner and his staff. Tanner, who also had talks with Texas A&M and Oklahoma, parlayed those discussions into a $50,000 raise which has his total contract - including incentives - valued at approximately $490,000.

Tanner also received an extension of his current contract through the 2012 season.

By comparison, Leggett has two years remaining on his current deal which pays him a base salary of $139,050, a $10,000 annuity, incentives worth $104,288 plus undisclosed income from his annual summer camps and endorsement deals.

One source also said Leggett's assistants make "about $20-30,000" less per man than Tanner's.

The way both the Clemson and USC baseball programs are compared to one another on a yearly basis, and the fact that at times they battle for the same recruits, made the disparity - both in dollars and length of contract - a big deal in Leggett's mind, said one source.

But talks with Phillips early Wednesday apparently soothed Leggett to the point that he felt comfortable telling both Texas A&M and Oklahoma that he wasn't interested in pursuing their openings, even though his own new contract won't be reworked until Phillips returns from vacation.

"Not many people would do what I'm doing, pulling out (of the other jobs) without something concrete in hand," Leggett said. "But I hope it shows the faith I have in Terry Don and the Clemson administration. (The final dollar amount) may not be where you ultimately want it to be, but it will be something good.

"People are a big thing for me, and the people at Clemson have been good to me. I've had some opportunities before and looked at them, but this is where I want to be. I need to get focused and squared away for recruiting and camps.

"So it was time to be honest with the other people and put the story to rest."

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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