By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
Clemson pitcher Daniel Gossett had no idea he was a part of history in the Tigers’ 5-2 victory over Maine on Friday night.
With the win over the Black Bears, Clemson head coach Jack Leggett tied Miami’s Ron Frasier as the 10th winningest coach in the history of College Baseball. It was his 1,267th victory.
“He never said anything about it,” Gossett said. “That’s how he is. No matter what is on the plate. It is just another baseball game that we are looking to win. He did not say anything about it.”
Gossett and catcher Garrett Boulware describe Leggett as a modest coach who never brags about himself at all. Well, almost never.
There is one thing Leggett likes to boast about, his record setting 52-yard field goal when he was an all-conference place kicker and defensive back for the Black Bears in 1976.
“He tells us about that every day when we question his athletic ability. ’Yeah, I had a 52-yard field goal. I still hold the record,’” Gossett laughed. “When it comes to real things, he keeps pretty quiet. He is a real subtle guy.”
With a smirk on his face, Boulware said he has heard of Leggett’s record setting kick at the University of Maine a couple of times.
“I have been told,” said Boulware who said he sometimes admits he doubts the story. “I don’t know. He is a little guy, but he might have a little power in him. He’s got a lot of life, so we will see.”
Joking aside, both Boulware and Gossett were proud to be a part of such a momentous day at Clemson.
“He continues the legacy that Coach Bill Wilhelm left when he was here,” said Garrett, who was 2-for-4 with an RBI in the victory. “Coach Jack Leggett has come in here and done the same thing. I don’t know the status of Bill Wilhelm because he was before my time, but Jack Leggett is a big name around here and in college baseball.
“He has done an awesome job during his time here and he has done an awesome job with the teams I have played with. It has been fun playing for him.”
Gossett says he is proud to be the pitcher of record when Leggett made history.
“Honestly, it is incredible,” the junior said. “It is a great accomplishment and congratulations to him. It is just something to show for it.”
Gossett (1-0) pitched seven innings for the Tigers, allowing one run on four hits, while striking out seven batters. Zack Erwin came on in relief of Patrick Andrews with one out in the eighth inning to get the first save of the season.
Besides Garrett’s two hits, Clemson also got two hits and an RBI from centerfielder Tyler Slaton and a two-RBI double from freshman Chris Okey, who in three of the four games this year has had a two-run hit in one of the first two innings.
In the end, it all equaled to Leggett’s 1,267th win of all-time and it came against his alma mater.
“It is one of those strange things that happen I guess in baseball,” Leggett said. “That’s nice. But the most important thing to me is that we won the ball game tonight so I feel good going home.”
And he feels good about still holding the 52-yard field goal record at Maine.
“That has been hanging in there for a long time,” Leggett said. “This one will not hang in there as long as that one has. It is nice. It is a special deal. It is awesome. But my goal right now is to get one more and get my team where it needs to be.
“That 52-yard field goal has been hanging in there and it has been getting me an awful lot of work for a long time. You guys have been using that thing well. Keep using it.”