When he was 15 years old, Monte Lee was asked by his high school baseball coach what he wanted to do when he grew up.
Lee’s answer was simple and to the point.
“I told him, ‘I want to grow up and be a coach.’ That is all I have ever wanted to do,” Clemson’s head coach said.
It was a good choice.
Lee, in just his 10th season as a head coach, notched his 400th victory Saturday as his fifth-ranked Clemson Tigers defeated Austin Peay, 10-1, at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
“I’m so grateful to be given the opportunity, at my age,” he said.
Lee, who turned 41 back in February, has been a head coach at the major college level since he was 30-years old. In his 10 years, he has already coached five 40-win teams, and this year’s Tigers are just two shy of the mark this season.
His first two teams at Clemson both produced 40-plus wins, while he hit the 40-win mark three times at the College of Charleston.
“This is all I ever wanted to do. All I have ever wanted to do was coach,” Lee said. “I can remember my high school baseball coach, who is a mentor of mine and someone I look up this day to, he asked me what I wanted to do at 15 years old.
“So for me to be able to sit here and coach at a school like Clemson, it is a dream come true for me. I get to live out a dream every day. Every day my when feet hit the floor, I don’t look at this and take it for granted at all.”
Lee hopes to get a lot more wins for Clemson this year and for many years to come. Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich feels the same way.
“It is a tough job, but I absolutely love what I do,” Lee said. “I’m just grateful for the opportunities that I have had. I have had good players. I have had good coaches. I’m just really happy to be where I am at in my life.
“To be at four hundred wins in ten years just says a lot about the players that I have had, and just how grateful I am.”