|Alma Mater:||College of Charleston|
Monte Lee has wasted little time making a name for himself as head coach. In his first season at Clemson in 2016, Lee directed the Tigers to the league championship by going 4-0 against four regional teams in the ACC Tournament at Durham, N.C. It was Clemson’s first ACC title since 2006 and was a big reason the Tigers earned the No. 7 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, the first time they hosted a regional since 2011.
Among the 44 wins in 2016, its most since 2010, Clemson had 24 come-from-behind victories and a school-record 14 one-run wins against only six one-run losses. The 2016 Tigers, who were ranked No. 15 in the final USA Today coaches poll, won 11 of their last 13 games, which included a 10-game winning streak, for the first time since 1991. He was also named midseason national coach-of-the-year by D1Baseball.
Clemson was second in the nation in walks (359) and slugged an ACC-high 75 homers, tied for seventh most in the nation, in 2016, more than doubling its previous season’s total, thanks in large part to Seth Beer, who won the Dick Howser Trophy as national player-of-the-year and was a first-team All-American. Beer, Clemson’s third recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy who batted .369 with 18 homers, 70 RBIs, a .700 slugging percentage, 62 walks and a .535 on-base percentage in 62 games, became the first freshman to win the award and the first freshman to be named ACC Player-of-the-Year.
Catcher Chris Okey, who hit .339 with 15 homers and 74 RBIs, and lefthander Pat Krall, who had a 10-2 record, five saves and an ACC-best 1.67 ERA, also earned first-team All-America honors. It marked the first time the Tigers had three first-team All-Americans in one season. Okey was a second-round draft pick after the season, Clemson’s highest-drafted catcher in history.
In eight seasons as a head coach, including seven at College of Charleston (2009-15) and one at Clemson (2016), Lee has a 320-165 record (.660) and five NCAA Tournament appearances. He also has 44+ wins each of the last three seasons, one of only five head coaches in the nation who can make that claim. Paul Mainieri (Louisiana State), Dan McDonnell (Louisville), Jim Morris (Miami (Fla.)) and Jim Schlossnagle (TCU) are the others. Tim Corbin (Vanderbilt), Dan Heefner (Dallas Baptist), Mike Martin (Florida State), Kevin O’Sullivan (Florida) and Tony Robichaux (Louisiana-Lafayette) join the other five who have 40+ wins each of the last three years, meaning Lee is one of only 10 head coaches in the nation with 40+ wins each of the last three seasons.
Lee was named Clemson’s head coach on June 18, 2015 by director of athletics Dan Radakovich. Lee led the Cougar program to a 276-145 (.656) record and four berths in the NCAA Tournament, including 2014 and 2015.
Lee received national acclaim in 2012 when he was named one of Baseball America’s top-10 head coaches in the nation under the age of 40. He led the Cougars to four NCAA Tournament appearances, winning the Gainesville (Fla.) Regional in 2014 and advancing to the Lubbock (Texas) Super Regional after capturing the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament championship.
In his seven years at College of Charleston, Lee coached four conference players-of-the-year, two conference pitchers-of-the-year and two conference freshmen-of-the-year. Lee won 200 games at College of Charleston faster than any coach in school history. His teams consistently ranked among the nation’s best offenses.
Lee’s 2015 College of Charleston team had a 45-15 record and ranked in the top 25 for much of the season, including No. 20 in the final USA Today coaches poll. He earned Colonial Athletic Association Coach-of-the-Year honors, while Taylor Clarke (pitcher) and Blake Butler (player, defensive player) received top conference honors. The Cougars narrowly missed hosting a regional, but advanced to the Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional title game.
In 2012, the Cougars won a share of the Southern Conference regular-season title and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They were fifth in the nation in home runs, the fourth year in a row they finished in the top five in that category. On May 7, 2012, College of Charleston defeated Clemson 4-2 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the program’s first-ever win over the Tigers.
In his second season in Charleston in 2010, he directed the Cougars to a 44-19 record and an appearance in the NCAA’s Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Regional final.
Prior to his time at College of Charleston, Lee was an assistant at South Carolina for six seasons (2003-08), serving as the volunteer assistant coach for five years before becoming the recruiting coordinator in 2008. During his time in Columbia, the Gamecocks had a 266-130 record, made six NCAA Tournament appearances, earned four super regional berths and made two trips to the College World Series.
He began his coaching career as an assistant (2001,02) at Spartanburg Methodist College. The 2002 squad totaled a school-record 51 wins, while the 2001 team played in the NJCAA College World Series. Lee also was the head coach of the South Carolina Diamond Devils AAU team in 2002 after serving as an assistant coach in 2001.
Lee was a standout outfielder for the Cougars from 1996-99. In 206 career games, he hit .333 with 156 runs, 240 hits, 50 doubles, six triples, 22 homers, 150 RBIs, 88 walks and 66 steals. He was in the top 10 in school history in career doubles, total bases and RBIs. In 2004, he was inducted as an inaugural member of College of Charleston’s Baseball Wall of Fame at Patriots Point Stadium.
He became the first position player drafted in Cougar history when the St. Louis Cardinals selected him in the 39th round in 1999. He played 82 games over two years (1999,00) in the minors.
Lee, who received academic all-district honors as a senior, earned his bachelor of science degree in elementary education from College of Charleston in 2000 after playing four seasons of baseball and two years of football at Lugoff-Elgin High School in Lugoff, S.C.
He was born Monte Wesley Lee II on Feb. 9, 1977 in Spartanburg, S.C. Lee is married to Eryn Garn Lee and the family has four daughters, Madie, Shelby, Blaire and Alexa.
Lee's Head Coaching Record
|2009||College of Charleston||35-22|
|2010||College of Charleston||44-19||Regional|
|2011||College of Charleston||39-22|
|2012||College of Charleston||38-22||Regional|
|2013||College of Charleston||31-26|
|2014*||College of Charleston||44-19||Super Regional|
|2015||College of Charleston||45-15||Regional|
|* - conference champion|
|Seasons as an NCAA head coach:||8|
|NCAA Tournament appearances:||5|
|Record as a head coach:||320-165 (.660)|