Regional Storyline #3: Student Meets Teacher
He wasn't John Pawlowski's coach at Clemson, but his impact is felt in almost everything he does:
“Coach Leggett gave me my first opportunity to coach in college baseball and I certainly can’t say enough about that.”
and if Auburn and Clemson meet in the NCAA Regional this weekend it won't be the first time they've squared off. Still, Clemson coach Jack Leggett was already thinking about Pawlowski and Auburn after the Regional Selection Show:
While Leggett talked with reporters, his cell phone buzzed. It was a text from Pawlowski, reading, “Congratulations, and see you soon.” The two talk regularly, and will do so this week, too, Leggett said.
“I’m excited about seeing him, first of all,” Leggett said. “Checking in on him, seeing how he’s doing, how his daughter (Mary-Louise, who is battling cancer) is doing. He’s done a great job with the program.
It's one thing to surround yourself with good people, but quite another to surround yourself with talent like Leggett has done. Talent that has produced some of the Nations best coaches:
Few training grounds have been as productive at creating successful college baseball coaches as the Leggett school of baseball management.
In the SEC alone, Leggett disciples comprise 33 percent of the conference's head coaches.
In addition to Pawlowski, Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan has guided Florida to a No. 1 seed, and Tim Corbin has led Vanderbilt to a No. 2 seed. Todd Raleigh is in his third year at Tennessee.
The Leggett tree has produced 31 assistant and head coaches at the college and pro levels.
"I'm very proud of it," Leggett said. "They've been around this program a long time, every one of them, and hopefully they've drawn something from it."
So what did Pawlowski learn from from Jack Leggett ?
"He's a football coach in a baseball uniform," said Pawlowski of Leggett, a former football player at Maine. "When you work for coach Leggett he's going to push you. He's going to test you. He is a person you respect, and the track record speaks for itself."
But Pawlowski Learned a thing or two about revealing too much, as evidenced by the Monday text message:
Leggett described it as a generic message, but it was yet another lesson learned from Leggett: keep your cards close.
Pawlowski vs. Leggett will be one of the most interesting matchups to watch. The two seem to have a great relationship that goes back to the Pawlowski's days at Clemson:
To measure the limits of the grizzled Leggett's toughness, Auburn coach John Pawlowski and his then fellow Clemson assistants created their own clandestine challenge.
Their testing ground was Leggett's pre-game ritual. Designed to energize his players, Leggett would slide into his awaiting team gathered near the first-base line, sparking an on-field mosh pit.
Jack Leggett’s coaching tree has produced 31 assistant and head coaches — including Auburn and former College of Charleston coach John Pawlowski — at the college and pro levels.
"As the season progressed we egged on the kids to hit him a little harder," Pawlowski said. "We'd tell the kids to give him a couple rib shots. He came back (complaining) and we'd say, 'Gee, Jack, we don't know why?' "
Student meets teacher. Should be some fun baseball. It's also worth nothing that Leggett was and still is very active in the Mary Louise Pawlowski foundation and helped contribute to some of the fundraising while Pawlowski was at the College of Charleston: