AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — Despite the fact the baseball program has struggled in the second half of the season, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich is still very confident the Tigers can get things turnaround as they head into the final four games of the regular season.
“We started out so well, but Monte (Lee) and the guys hit a little bit of a pothole, but there is still life,” Radakovich told The Clemson Insider on Monday from the ACC Spring Meetings at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Fla. “We have a great three-game series coming up against Wake Forest and then the ACC Tournament, so we are looking forward to that.”
Clemson (30-22) also plays at Coast Carolina tonight at 6 p.m., in Conway, S.C. The Tigers desperately need a win as they are fighting for their postseason lives heading into the final week of the regular season.
In the second half of the season, Clemson has struggled to have one of its worst second-half years in school history. It is just 8-16 since the midway point of the year, including 14 losses in the last 19 games. During that stretch they lost eight straight overall, the longest losing streak since 2008, and nine straight ACC games, tied for the longest losing skid in school history.
“Again, I feel really comfortable as to where we are with our baseball program,” Radakovich said. “We need to get a few more wins and the first person who would tell you that is Monte.”
Though he feels comfortable with where the baseball program is in year four under Lee, the Clemson athletic director believes the expectations are still the same for the program. Compete for ACC Championships, make the NCAA Tournament and advance. Getting to Omaha for the College World Series is still the goal.
Under Lee, the Tigers have won an ACC Tournament Championship and a regular season conference championship and hosted three straight regionals, but they have not got past the regional round of the NCAA Tournament.
“(The expectations) are absolutely the same and I think (Lee) would say that if he was standing here,” Radakovich said. “Our goal is to get our program to the highest level of the ACC, to make the NCAA Tournament, to host a regional and to move on.
“It has been a little bit of a difficult year. We had some injuries early on to a pitching staff that kind of forced us to put a lot of young people in. But a lot of people have gotten an awful lot of really valuable playing time this year. We still have a lot of time this year and the future looks bright.”
When evaluating an athletic program and its head coach, there are a few things Radakovich wants to see taking place to make sure the program is maximizing at its fullest potential.
“It is going as far as you can go. There are some teams that overachieve and if they don’t kind of hit that winning number … are you progressing,” he said. “Are you continuing to get better? Is the foundation positive? That’s really one of the criteria that you really look at and I still feel great about Monte, his staff and the young people that are in there playing day-to-day for the Tigers.”