The Daily Gamecock

Monte Lee talks 'easy' decision to return to Gamecock baseball coaching staff

<p>The South Carolina baseball team huddling in the outfield of Founders Park before a game during the 2022 season.&nbsp;</p>
The South Carolina baseball team huddling in the outfield of Founders Park before a game during the 2022 season. 

14 years after he left the South Carolina baseball coaching staff, an introductory press conference on Monday marked Monte Lee's official return to the Gamecocks program. 

“This was one of those situations that really excited me,” Lee said. “This is just an opportunity that I will not turn down.”

Lee's hiring was announced Thursday, after former assistant coach Chad Caillet retired to spend more time with his family after spending one season at South Carolina.

Previously the Clemson head baseball coach, Lee said returning to Columbia to be on Mark Kingston's staff was an "easy yes".

During Lee's first tenure with the Gamecocks, the team found success, reaching two College World Series in back-to-back years during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. 

"I was very very fortunate as a volunteer assistant here at South Carolina to work under a mastermind in recruiting in Jim Toman," Lee said. "I had a really good feel when I transferred when I transitioned from a volunteer assistant into the recruiting coordinator."

In his second stint with South Carolina, Lee will also serve as the recruiting coordinator for the program. 

During Lee’s time at Clemson, he coached nine All-Americans including Arizona Diamondbacks' first baseman Seth Beer.

“As a head coach I was very, very active,” Lee said. “I love getting out on the road and finding talent and communicating with families."

The Gamecock’s current recruiting class holds a total of 12 players, two of which are five-star recruits.

“You got to have good players if you want to be successful,” Lee said. “So I’m excited about the challenge and the transition of going back to recruiting coordinator.”

After South Carolina went 27-28 and 13-17 in conference play last year and missed the NCAA Tournament, Lee will likely be a welcome addition amongst the current Gamecocks on the roster. Clemson made appearances in the NCAA Tournament in each of Lee's first four year's as head coach. 

Outside of his recruiting duties, Lee will be placing an emphasis on meeting with the current roster of Gamecocks during the early weeks of his time in Columbia. 

“My main priority is to get to know the people in the room,” Lee said. “For the players to gain trust in me, they have to know me first.”


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