Coaching Third: The Keith LeClair Story, is a book about the late, Walpole, NH-native and Division I college baseball coach who tragically passed away from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS (Lou Gerhig's Disease).
Written by Bethany Bradsher, a Greenville, NC-based journalist and author, Coaching Third is published through Whitecaps Media and was released on March 5, at the annual LeClair Classic, an annual college baseball tournament named in honor of the late East Carolina coach.
A 1984 graduate of Fall Mountain Regional High School in Langdon, NH, LeClair made the Western Carolina University (WCU) baseball team as a walk-on player in 1985, and helped lead the Catamounts to four consecutive Southern Conference championships.
After being drafted by the Atlanta Braves and playing one year in the minor leagues, LeClair returned to WCU to become an assistant coach, before becoming head coach in 1992 and at the time, making him the youngest head coach in the nation at 25.
Later that season, the Catamounts would come within one win of the College World Series.
In his six seasons as WCU coach, LeClair posted an impressive 229-135 record, led the Catamounts to four NCAA Tournament berths and was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year three times.
LeClair's #23 has been retired by the university, making his one of the few college baseball numbers ever retired, and was also elected to the WCU Athletic Hall of Fame.
After accepting the head coaching job at East Carolina University (ECU), Coach LeClair became the schools' second all-time winningest coach in just five seasons at the helm, leading the Pirates to a school record 51-win season before ALS forced him to step down in 2002.
Coach LeClair continued as an ECU special assistant as long as he could and in March of 2005, ECU officially opened Clark-LeClair Stadium, a 3,000-seat baseball facility.
The first games played at the new stadium? The LeClair Classic Invitational Tournament of course, which is now running six years strong.
The new biography about Coach LeClair was also debuted at this season's LeClair Classic.
The author, Bradsher, has been covering ECU athletics for a decade, while also writing for Spartanburg Herald-Journal, the Durham Herald-Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Post and the Associated Press.
Bradsher interviewed some 65 people during the two-year process of completing the book. To learn more or to order a copy of Coaching Third, The Keith LeClair Story , please visit the web site www.coachingthird.com