Jack Leggett is no stranger to success. In 19 seasons, he has led Clemson to 847 victories (44.6 per season), 18 NCAA Tournament appearances, and six College World Series berths. Clemson is the seventh-winningest program in the nation during his time as head coach.
The enthusiastic mentor, who will turn 59 on March 5, has not built up that win total against easy competition. Of his 847 wins, 223 (26 percent) have come against teams ranked in the top 25 of at least one of the three major polls. He also has 120 wins over top-10 teams, 67 victories in NCAA Tournament competition, and has directed Clemson to a winning record in ACC regular-season games in 18 of his 19 seasons in Tigertown.
For his accomplishments, Leggett will be inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame on January 3, 2014 in Dallas, TX. Leggett will join six other inductees during ABCA's annual convention.
The South Burlington, VT native has been with the program since 1992. He served as recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach under Bill Wilhelm (1992,93). He was a major contributor to two teams that were ranked in the final top 20 and reached the NCAA Regionals. The Tigers also won the ACC Tournament title in 1993.
The word "championship" is also in the lexicon of terms when summarizing Leggett's 19 years as head coach in Tigertown. In 1994, Clemson won the ACC regular-season title and went on to win the tourney title as well. In 1995, the Tigers repeated as ACC regular-season champions and won the NCAA East Regional title. The 1996 season brought Clemson another NCAA Regional title and a second consecutive berth to the College World Series. In 1999, Clemson won four games in two days to capture the Fayetteville (AR) Regional.
In 2006, the Tigers captured the Atlantic Division title with a 24-6 record and then won the ACC Tournament Championship. The Tigers also won regional titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010. Leggett guided Clemson to the College World Series in 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2010 as well.
Seven of the 19 years have seen the Tigers finish in the top 10 of all three major polls, and there has been at least one top-25 final ranking in 15 of the 19 seasons under Leggett.
For his accomplishments, he was named ACC Coach-of-the-Year in his first two seasons (1994,95). He is one of a few coaches in ACC history, regardless of sport, to be named ACC Coach-of-the-Year in each of his first two seasons. He also earned the same honor in 2006 when Clemson won the ACC title.
His demeanor is one of aggressiveness and passion for the game. One can see Leggett sprinting to the third-base coaching box between innings and charging into the pregame huddle to get his players fired up. He expects the same intensity and has gotten that out of his players.
His Tigers have shown excellence in all areas of the game. His first year (1994) as head coach was truly remarkable. With just three starters returning in the field, Clemson was unranked in the preseason top 20, but it quickly reached the top 20 of every poll with a two-game sweep of #9 Tennessee. Those were the first two of 19 wins over top-25 teams.
The 1994 Tigers (57-18) won a record 13 straight ACC games to open the season and ended the year with a 20-4 league ledger. After two wins over Miami (FL) in April of 1994, Clemson ascended to the #1 ranking in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball. It was just the second #1 ranking in school history.
Leggett's Tigers won the 1994 ACC regular-season title, then they captured the ACC Tournament title by winning four games against top-20 teams. It was just the fifth time in school history that the Tigers won the regular-season and ACC Tourney titles in one year. As a result, Clemson was rewarded as a regional host for the first time in 13 years.
Clemson was eliminated in the NCAA Regional, but it still concluded 1994 as the nation's winningest team. The summer following that season, Leggett was chosen to the University of Maine Hall of Fame.
In 1995, his Tigers had a 54-14 record due in part to an offense that was in the top 10 in the nation in scoring (8.4 runs per game). The team also had six players who would go on to play in the Major Leagues. In 1996, the season ended with the Tiger pitching staff owning the best ERA (3.03) in the nation. With a record of 51-17, Clemson was fourth in the nation in wins.
The 1996 team also produced eight Major League draft picks, including seven in the first 17 rounds. Included in those selections were pitchers Kris Benson, the #1 overall pick, and Billy Koch, the #4 overall pick. It was only the second time in the history of the draft, which dates to 1965, that one school produced two of the first five picks.
In 1998, Clemson reached #3 in the nation and finished as high as #19. In 1999, Clemson was 6-6 against top-10 teams even though just one of the games was at home. That squad won four elimination games in two days to capture the Fayetteville (AR) Regional title, then came one inning from advancing to Omaha, as the Tigers lost game-three in the College Station (TX) Super Regional against Texas A&M.
In 2000, Clemson climbed to the #1 ranking by Collegiate Baseball after opening the season 23-3. The Tigers traveled back to Omaha for the first time in four seasons. Clemson went 1-2 in the College World Series after sweeping its way through the regional and super regional rounds. The Tigers ended the year with a 51-18 record and finished second in the ACC. Clemson claimed 14 wins over top-25 teams, including 11 wins against top-10 teams.
The 2001 season saw Clemson triumph over adversity. The Tigers suffered a five-game losing streak along with the unexpected loss of seniors Patrick Boyd and Mike Proto to injury. But Clemson finished second in the ACC and was a step away from Omaha before being eliminated by eventual National Champion Miami (FL).
In 2002, Leggett received region coach-of-the-year honors by ABCA, as the Tigers were 54-17 and finished tied for third in the nation in Omaha. That team also featured eight draft picks, including unanimous National Player-of-the-Year Khalil Greene. Greene set the national career record for doubles (95) and finished second in hits (403).
The 2004 campaign was one of adversity overcome, as Clemson started 9-10 but went 18-4 in its next 22 games. The team played in the Athens (GA) Regional and overcame a seven-run deficit to defeat host Georgia to stay alive. But the Bulldogs rallied in the title game to claim the crown. He also coached nine Tigers who were selected in the 2004 draft.
The 2005 Tigers played one of their toughest schedules in history, which included 42 of their 66 games against teams that played in the NCAA Tournament. Clemson still managed to come within one win of a trip to the College World Series, falling in three games at Baylor in the Waco (TX) Super Regional. Clemson was 19-9 against top-25 ranked teams and won 21 ACC regular-season games, finishing in second place in the ACC standings.
In 2006, Clemson had the best ACC record (24-6) and won the ACC Tournament title. The Tigers later advanced to the College World Series and finished ranked #5 in all three polls with a 53-16 record, including a 26-9 mark against top-25 ranked teams. Clemson had a 3.26 ERA, the sixth-best figure in the nation, one of many reasons Leggett was named ACC Coach-of-the-Year. Tyler Colvin and Andy D'Alessio were both first-team All-Americans, while Josh Cribb earned third-team honors. Colvin (#13 overall pick) was one of 10 Tigers selected in the 2006 draft as well.
Clemson continued its postseason success in 2007 when it advanced to the Starkville (MS) Super Regional after winning the Myrtle Beach (SC) Regional with a 3-0 record. The squad had a 41-23 record and finished in the top 15 of the polls. D'Alessio tied the school record with 59 career homers. He was one of a school-record 11 draft picks, five of which were taken in the first three rounds. Lefthander Daniel Moskos was the #4 overall pick of the draft.
In 2009, Leggett directed the Tigers to another super regional after the Tigers won the Clemson Regional in dramatic fashion. The Tigers trailed 5-1 in the seventh inning of the championship game against Oklahoma State before they rallied for a 6-5 win thanks to Kyle Parker's two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning. Clemson did not lose more than two games in a row all season and finished #5 in the nation in ERA. The Tigers also had nine draft picks.
The 2010 squad overcame a midseason slump to advance to the College World Series for the sixth time under Leggett. Led by Parker, a first-team All-American, Clemson swept Florida State at home in the final weekend to capture the ACC Atlantic Division title. In the Auburn Regional, Clemson defeated Auburn twice in three games to advance to the Clemson Super Regional, where the Tigers topped Alabama twice in three games. In Omaha, Clemson won two games and reached the Final Four under Leggett, who was named ABCA Atlantic Region Coach-of-the-Year.
The 2011 Tigers started the season 14-12, but under Leggett's direction, Clemson finished the season 29-8 in its last 37 games. The Tigers were sixth in the nation in batting average (.318) and led the ACC by 14 points. Brad Miller was named ACC Player-of-the-Year and a first-team All-American after leading the ACC in batting average (.395).
In 2012, the Tigers had five walkoff hits and set a school record with a .973 fielding percentage. Clemson won six games against top-10 teams, including three wins in four games against #1 Florida State. Clemson's first four batters in the lineup all earned All-ACC honors, including third-baseman Richie Shaffer, who was a first-team All-American.
Leggett has 1,224 career wins and is the nation's sixth-winningest active Division I head coach. He reached the 1,000-win mark in Clemson's 5-0 win at Maryland on March 25, 2007 to become just the 29th coach in Division I history to reach 1,000 career wins. At the age of 53, he also became the second-youngest coach to reach that mark.
Leggett has an 89-71 record against SEC teams as the Tiger head coach, including a 53-22 record at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Leggett enters the 2013 season with a career record of 1224-694-1, seven conference championships, and 23 NCAA Tournament appearances on his resumé. So far, 110 of the players Leggett has brought to Tigertown have been drafted and/or signed a professional baseball contract.
But perhaps his most notable stat is a streak involving Omaha. Since he took over in 1994, every Tiger who has been in the program and on the postseason roster for four consecutive years has made at least one trip to the College World Series. Only two other schools (Cal State Fullerton, Louisiana State) in the nation have current streaks as long as the Tigers' streak, which dates to the freshman from the 1988 season.
Prior to his move to Clemson, Leggett served as a head coach for 14 years (five at Vermont, nine at Western Carolina). He already had 377 career wins, 302 at Western Carolina and 75 at Vermont, before he came to Clemson.
Leggett led Western Carolina to five NCAA Tournaments (1985-89), five SoCon titles, and a top-30 ranking during his tenure as head coach. His 1988 team set the school record for wins, posting a 38-24 record, while the 1989 squad won its fifth-consecutive Southern Conference title. The Catamounts averaged 33 wins a season during his time in Cullowhee, NC, and his teams played in the conference title game in eight of the nine seasons.
The 1991 Catamounts posted a 36-26 record. One of the 36 wins came in a 9-7 victory over Clemson on March 31, one of just 10 losses the #4 Tigers had that year. Leggett was named ABCA Atlantic Region Coach-of-the-Year and Southern Conference Coach-of-the-Year in 1987. In 1989, he was appointed to the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee and served on the committee through the 1995 season.
In his tenure at Western Carolina, Leggett produced 35 First-Team All-SoCon players, six conference players-of-the-year, and had 16 players sign pro contracts. Of the Catamounts who played under him for four seasons, 100 percent graduated and more than 50 percent compiled a 3.0-or-better GPA. He was also inducted into the Western Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Before going to Western Carolina for the 1983 season, Leggett spent five seasons at Vermont, where he turned the program into a consistent winner. He coached the Vermont club team in 1977, then he organized and coached the school's first intercollegiate team in 1978. At age 23, Leggett was the youngest coach in the country. He had a winning season in his first year and had a 75-61 overall record at Vermont.
Leggett graduated with honors from Maine in 1976, where he was an all-star performer in both football and baseball. He captained the 1976 Maine team that advanced to the College World Series, and he was a two-time All-Yankee Conference honoree in football as a defensive back and placekicker. He still holds the Maine record for the longest field goal, a 52-yarder.
Leggett has two children, son, Tanner, and daughter, Colby. Tanner lettered twice (2005,06) on the Clemson baseball team and graduated with a degree in marketing in 2006, while Colby graduated from Ohio State. Jack and Karen were married on August 6, 2005. Karen has four children, three daughters, Kyla, Kristen, and Kacie, and a son, Kenny.
The Leggett File
* - Atlantic Division; ^ - ACC Tournament Champion