Clemson’s season came to an end Monday night when second-seed Vanderbilt defeated the top-seeded Tigers 8-0 to advance to the Super-Regional round in Corvallis, Ore., to take on Oregon State.
The post-game press conference was emotional for head coach Monte Lee and team leader Andrew Cox along with freshman Logan Davidson. Here is what we heard:
“It’s really hard to put into words what you take away from the season 15 minutes or so after your final game of the year is over,” Lee said. “I would say my biggest take away is just how grateful I am to all of these players. To all of these guys that last year when I came in they embraced me and I’ve embraced them. We hate to see our season end this way.”
“We’ve got a great group of young men who sacrificed and worked extremely hard for this program and to try to put ourselves in this position and achieve a lot of great things. You just hate it for them. You hate it for the players. For their season to end this way. Especially the guys who are leaving the program.”
One man in particular, whose time at Clemson has come to an end, is Cox. The first baseman was very emotional and sincere Monday night as he took the final press conference to reflect back on his years of having the opportunity to wear the Clemson uniform.
“It is everything that I ever could have imagined it being,” Cox said. “I think if you cut me open, purple and orange would bleed out. I have given everything in the world to this program and it has given me everything and more back. I would not change a single thing about my experience here.
“I have made some lifelong relationships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Being able to wear this jersey every single day and represent this program has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. To say that I had that opportunity and to say that I trotted out to Doug Kingsmore every single day and played a game I grew up loving, I don’t think there is any more you can ask for. I’m forever indebted to this program.
“It is tough to elaborate on right now, but I love each and every one of my teammates. I love Coach Lee. I love my coaching staff. I just appreciate the opportunities I was given to play here.”
Cox has without a doubt been the team’s leader and Lee said one of the toughest challenges next year will be finding someone to take on the leadership role that Cox embraced during his time at Clemson.
“When I was hired to be the head coach at Clemson, when I went to do my press conference, it was one of the greatest days of my life, of my professional life and there was one player who was there to greet me before I walked inside the football stadium to welcome me to Clemson and it was Andrew Cox and I’ll never forget that.
“Andrew is a guy that not only is he a great player, but he is a great person,” Lee said. “He’s got incredible leadership skills and he’s a joy to coach because he gives so much effort. I can’t tell you how many coaches we play against that will come up to me and tell me that Andrew Cox is the reason this team has done as well as it’s done because of the energy and positivity and enthusiasm in which he brings to the ball park every day and to our team.”
Freshman shortstop Logan Davidson briefly spoke about the goodbyes that had to be exchanged and how tough they can be.
“I’ve learned a lot from them. It’s really hard to see them go,” he said. “It’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, saying goodbye to them. It was a really emotional time, but they taught us a lot. Just how to play the game the right way.”