Good afternoon, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) fans. Hope you are enjoying the ACC men’s basketball tournament.
Well, according to various news reports, it appears that Clemson Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Brad Brownell, is safe at least for another season. As readers of this blog know, we (@TalkinACCSports) and I) have been somewhat critical of Brownell’s performance this year. I’ve gone as far as suggesting that Clemson should consider hiring Will Wade, Tiger alumnus, who is head coach VCU. But that doesn’t appear to be in the cards.
Brad Senkiw of the Anderson (SC), Independent Mail brought home these quotes:
Clemson men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell responded Friday to a statement of support from his boss, athletic director Dan Radakovich.
“I think there is very good energy in our program. We understand it’s frustrating to fans, players and administrators when we’ve lost some of these close games,” Brownell said. “We’re not going to make the NCAA tournament, but I don’t think it means that we don’t have a healthy program and that we’re not doing good things. I think and I’m hopeful that Dan recognizes that. And I think our administration recognizes that on campus.”
“It’s crazy but two of three of those losses go our way, we’re probably an NCAA tournament team,” Brownell said. “But they didn’t. I do think, though, that they see that the program is healthy, players, recruiting is going well. We have new facilities to help all of those aspects.”
Brownell said he hasn’t had a conversation with Radakovich since returning from New York, but the two have talked frequently throughout the season.
“It’s been a very difficult season, no doubt,” Radakovich said Wednesday in New York during the tournament. “But this team continues to compete at a high level in a very difficult league. Brad and I will sit down and talk about things in the program like we do every year, but certainly the way we’re looking at it right now is to continue to work with Brad here at Clemson.”
Michael J. Lewis of the Greenville News brought this home:
The Tigers (17-15) lost their 11th game by single digits, and had to do it without contributions from top 3-point shooter Avry Holmes, who took only three shots and was scoreless while trying to play through a left ankle injury.
It now looks like another trip to the NIT for Clemson, which would make it a six-year NCAA Tournament drought for coach Brad Brownell.
His career record at Clemson is 124-102, but just 33-30 the past two years. Brownell has three years remaining on a six-year contract he signed in May 2014, but his job security has been discussed on Clemson fan sites and on college basketball blogs. Many wonder if the Tigers might think about a change. If fired this year, Brownell would be entitled to $3.5 million from Clemson.
But athletics director Dan Radakovich stood behind his head coach.
“It’s been a very difficult season, no doubt,” said Radakovich, who was in New York for the tournament. “But this team continues to compete at a high level in a very difficult league. Brad and I will sit down and talk about things in the program like we do every year, but certainly the way we’re looking at it right now is to continue to work with Brad here at Clemson.”
Radakovich also pointed to extenuating circumstances in Brownell’s tenure, such as last season’s experience of playing away from Littlejohn Coliseum the whole year.
Finally, Gene Sapakoff of the Charleston, SC Post and Courier thinks that Clemson will punt on Gregg Marshall (again) and retain Brownell:
The Brad list
Some of the reasons Radakovich might have for giving Brownell another year are obvious, others understandable and a few uniquely Brad:
• Clemson, 17-15 overall and 6-12 in the ACC this year, lost 10 ACC games by seven points or less.
• The ACC, while better at the top in other seasons, is deeper than ever. Ten teams are projected to make the NCAA Tournament, pushing the record for a conference held by the Big East, which placed 11 in 2011.
• Outside the ACC, Clemson is 3-0 vs. the SEC this year – with a win at South Carolina – and clobbered UNC Wilmington.
• Maybe Brownell with Shelton Mitchell (Vanderbilt), Marcquise Reed (Robert Morris), Elijah Thomas (Texas A&M), Legend Robertin (Chipola Junior College) and 2017 redshirt David Skara (Valparaiso) has discovered a transfer path to recruiting holes.
• Why not give Brownell a second year in the new Littlejohn Coliseum when the wait for a $63.5 million renovation included a season in Greenville?
• Brownell’s teams are very well prepared.
• Clemson plays hard.
• Brownell is a great guy whose friends range from influential boosters to Clemson staffers to students to Dabo Swinney.
Passed by Deacons, Hokies
Fan support is in line with ACC production.
Clemson this year finished 12th in the ACC standings (ahead of Pittsburgh, N.C. State and Boston College).
The Tigers with a 7,541 average were 11th in the ACC in home attendance (ahead of Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech and Boston College).
Tougher to take: Wake Forest (from Jeff Bzdelik to Danny Manning) and Virginia Tech (from James Johnson to Buzz Williams) jumped Clemson in the ACC pecking order after making coaching changes three years ago.
“In the grand scheme of things it’s pretty good, but we need to take the next step,” Brownell said. “We need to get over the hump and get into the NCAA Tournament.”
He said that a year ago.
Expect something similar in a week or two unless Gregg Marshall joins Dabo Swinney and Monte Lee among Clemson coaches South Carolina fans fear.
FWIW, I like Clemson Athletic Director, Dan Radakovich, but as readers of this blog know, I had questions about his decisions on basketball hires at a both Clemson and Georgia Tech. I thought his decision to give Brownell a long contract extension was questionable at best, as well as his hire of Brian Gregory at Georgia Tech. So there you go – you can most likely expect Brad Brownell back in the fold at Clemson next year.