Southern Lee High School baseball coach David Lee has resigned from the school to focus on his family.
Lee told The Rant that his father, a frequent spectator at Cavalier games along with Lee’s mom, is suffering from a brain tumor. He felt should his condition worsen as the season approaches, he may not be able to devote as much time as he needed to the team.
“It sucks because we were starting to come together,” Lee said. “But in a way, it was not a tough call because it’s my dad. I thought it would be fair to the kids if I left now and not later in the year.”
In his four years at Southern, Lee amassed a 42-20-1 record. But his tenure will be remembered more for what could have been in the 2020 season. That year, the Cavs had one of the strongest 3-A teams in the state, with eventual MLB draft pick Thomas Harrington leading a roster filled with five Division 1 college players and Division 3 pitcher of the year Drew Bryan.
The team started the season 3-0 before the whole world shut down in March because of the pandemic.
“I try not to say what if, but it’s hard not to about that year,” he said. “I can’t guarantee a championship, but we would have been in the conversation. We would have been in the mix in May and June. It’s a shame that team didn’t get to leave it out on the field.”
In the leadup to the MLB Draft last month, Harrington credited Lee with suggesting he focus on pitching to get to the next level – an idea he made the most of in his time at Campbell University.
“I saw him play shortstop when we played against Southern at Richmond, and I thought ‘man that kid has an arm throwing across the diamond,'” he said. “I thought he had the makings of a great starting pitcher for us, and he has just taken it to a whole other level.”
Lee said he has taken a position at Pinecrest High School that has fewer responsibilities this season. He said he’s proud he was able to leave his mark on the Southern Lee program.
“Every place that I have coached my dad and I have done projects on the field to leave a part of us,” Lee said, pointing out the distance markers at Southern Lee’s field that were made by his dad. “Baseball is something my dad and I have always shared.”
Southern Lee has yet to name a replacement. The Cavaliers return a solid roster that includes Campbell commit Kale Scruggs, Norfolk State commit Jalan Jones, and Sandhills 3A/4A All Conference selection Pierce Bouwman.