Less than one week after being hired as Tennessee's head baseball coach, Todd Raleigh announced the addition of Bradley LeCroy to the Volunteer coaching staff. It was one of Raleigh's first executive moves upon assuming control of the program, but it was one that seemed quite fitting given LeCroy's impressive résumé and potential as one of the game's bright, young up-and-coming coaches.
|Bradley LeCroy is one of the top young assistant coaches at the collegiate level.|
In terms of developing professional talent, LeCroy has excelled in that area during his relatively brief coaching career. In just 10 years, he has coached 37 players who went on to be drafted and 40 players who signed professional baseball contracts.
"We're all very excited about having Bradley in the program," Raleigh said. "He's young, energetic, a great recruiter and is also skilled in player development. Our infielders have really benefited from working with him, but his impact reaches the entire program.
"He played at Clemson and worked on my staff at Western Carolina, so philosophically we're on the same page. He's been to Omaha (for the College World Series), so he knows what it takes for a team to reach that goal. Bradley's got a great mind for the game and also has a wonderful family. He'll be a key part of our program moving forward."
On the recruiting trails, it is hard to find a coach that works harder than LeCroy. As the Vols' recruiting coordinator, he has put together a pair of signing classes that both ranked among the best in the nation. In 2008, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper gave the UT class a rating of No. 28 based upon the fact that it included four previously drafted players. LeCroy wasn't done there though, ramping up the program's recruiting efforts even more, resulting in a class that was ranked No. 14 in the nation by Baseball America last year.
During games, LeCroy coaches third base for the Vols and also positions the fielders. His impact on the Vols in 2008 was immediate and widespread. He helped instruct a lineup that regularly featured seven underclassmen. Despite its youth, Tennessee pounded out 67 home runs in 56 games, tying for the fifth-highest single-season total in program history.
|Bradley LeCroy hits during infield practice before games.|
Brown's 2008 fielding percentage also improved to a career-best .937. LeCroy's impact was even more pronounced in 2009, when the squad continued its assault on the record books with 87 home runs in just 55 games, good for the second-highest single-season total in program history. The Vols also improved their team slugging percentage from .447 in 2008 to .484 in 2009.
Over the next two years, LeCroy was responsible for the emergence of another infielder named Cody, this time first baseman Cody Hawn. During his first year as a Vol, Hawn became just the 10th player in school history to win the team's Triple Crown with a .364 batting average, 22 home runs and 81 RBIs. He also topped the squad with 72 hits, 15 doubles and a .773 slugging percentage.
Under LeCroy's continued tutelage, Hawn put up another monster season in 2010, blasting out 14 more home runs to move into a tie for third all-time in the UT record book with 36 longballs, only two off the school record set by Tennessee legend Todd Helton. Hawn, who made just five errors in 95 collegiate games, was drafted in the sixth round of the MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.
LeCroy also coached infielders during his two seasons at Western Carolina. The Cats ranked second in the Southern Conference with a .966 team fielding percentage in 2007 while turning 46 double plays. Western fielded at a .954 clip in 2006 with 35 double plays.
The Catamounts hitters also benefited from LeCroy's instruction, as Western Carolina ranked fifth nationally in runs per game (8.4), tied for fifth nationally in home runs per game (1.4), sixth nationally in slugging percentage (.517), seventh nationally in doubles per game (2.39) and 11th nationally in batting average (.323) in 2007.
LeCroy recruited, signed and coached 2007 All-America honoree and Southern Conference Player of the Year Kenny Smith as well. Smith ranked among the national leaders in numerous offensive categories in 2007, including ranking among the national top 20 in RBI per game (1.35), home runs (20), slugging percentage (.759) and home runs per game (0.32).
Another highlight of LeCroy's tenure at WCU was the Catamounts' impressive 7-2 record against ACC, Big Ten and SEC opponents in 2007. Western also posted the second-most road wins in America that season, winning 22 games away from Cullowhee. And following that stellar campaign, a school-record five players were selected in the MLB draft. From 2003-05 LeCroy sharpened his coaching knowledge at his alma mater, helping lead Clemson to three NCAA Tournament appearances, a 2005 NCAA Super Regional berth and an average of more than 40 wins per year. His coaching responsibilities included working with the Tigers infielders and hitters.
He coached four All-ACC players in 2003, all of whom were starters in the Clemson infield. In 2004, the Tigers hit 73 home runs and 149 doubles with LeCroy assisting as a hitting instructor. He also coached third baseman Brad McCann to All-America honors.
LeCroy saw yet another of his infielders earn All-America acclaim in 2005, as freshman second-baseman Taylor Harbin sported a stellar .974 fielding percentage that ranked among the best ever by a Clemson second baseman, third baseman or shortstop. Harbin also hit .343 that year with 64 runs, 28 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs and 63 RBI.
Additional highlights from LeCroy's time at Clemson include a .969 team fielding percentage in 2003 that ranks tied for the fourth-best mark in school history and a .968 team fielding mark in 2005 that ranks tied for sixth all-time. He also served as the baseball camp director during his three years on the staff at Clemson.
LeCroy coached in the Valley Baseball League in the summer of 2003 as an assistant with for the New Market (Va.) Rebels. The Rebels were the Valley League runner-up after compiling a 31-18 record--the 31 wins were a franchise record. He coached eight All-Stars on the Rebels' squad, including Most Valuable Pitcher Phil Bartleski of William & Mary, and Kevin White of Presbyterian, who was the league home runs and RBI champion.
In 2001 and 2002, LeCroy was an assistant coach at Division II Anderson College in Anderson S.C. In 2001, he coached David Mattox, who was drafted in the 11th round by the New York Mets and was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year in the Mets' organization in 2002. Anderson's 2002 squad led the Division II ranks with 41 triples. LeCroy coached three all-conference players during his stint at Anderson College.
LeCroy began his coaching career as head coach of the Williamston American Legion team in Williamston, S.C., guiding the squad during the summers of 2001 and 2002, and both his clubs competed in the state legion playoffs.
During the four years in which he lettered at Clemson under Tigers head coach Jack Leggett, LeCroy posted a .266 batting average in 173 career games played. A versatile utility player early in his career, he settled in as the Tigers' everyday starting shortstop in 1999, playing alongside third baseman and current Major Leaguer Khalil Greene. The Tigers made four NCAA appearances during LeCroy's time as a collegian, including a berth in the 2000 College World Series.
"(Bradley was) an outstanding middle infielder and one of the most versatile and athletic players that I've ever coached," Leggett said. "He's an excellent coach working with the infielders and hitters. He has great knowledge of the game, and he has an exciting future in coaching."
A sought-after speaker at camps and coaching clinics, LeCroy has twice delivered infield-play presentations at the Eastern North Carolina High School Baseball Coaches Clinic. He also has presented on practice plans and organization at the South Carolina High School Baseball Coaches Clinic.
LeCroy, who was a three-sport standout at Walhalla (S.C.) High School, earned his bachelor's degree in education from Clemson in 2001. He is married to the former Meredith Chandler of Greenville, S.C., who lettered in tennis at Clemson from 1996-99.
|THE BRADLEY LeCROY FILE|
|Full Name: Bradley James LeCroy|
|Born: Feb. 1, 1978|
|Hometown: Walhalla, S.C.|
|Family: Married to the former Meredith Chandler of Greenville, S.C.|
|Education: Bachelor of Science - Education (Clemson University, 2001)|
|Playing Experience: Clemson, 1997-2000 (utility/shortstop)|
|Coaching Experience: Head coach of Williamston American Legion (Williamston, S.C.; summers of 2001 and 2002); Assistant coach at Anderson College (Division II; 2001-02); Assistant coach for New Market Rebels (Valley Baseball League; summer 2003); Volunteer assistant coach at Clemson University (2003-05); Assistant coach at Western Carolina University (2006-07); Assistant coach at University of Tennessee (2008-present)|