Brownell looks ahead

CLEMSON - Brad Brownell is in a tough position, but it sure beats the heck out of the alternative.

In his first-year as Clemson head coach, he went 22-12, finished fourth in the ACC regular season and earned the Tigers another trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Brownell was just one of four first-year head coaches to take his team to this year‘s tournament and was the only one of the four to win a game in the dance.

Not bad for a guy whose team was picked by most pundits to finish in the bottom half of the ACC.

A week after being knocked out of tournament play by West Virginia, Brownell's name has been linked to various head coaching vacancies around the country. On Thursday, he was mum about a potential move after one season at Clemson.

"I don't talk about jobs and rumors and have I been contacted, will I be contacted," he said. "I don't comment about any of those things."

Earlier that day, Brownell met with Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips for their first of several postseason meetings.

"We talked about some issues and some things," Brownell said. "We're going to get back together, probably next week.

"Terry Don's been great…our meeting today went very well. I have a very good relationship with Terry Don."

Brownell added that he's very fond of his current position.

"I really like Clemson. This is a good place. I wouldn't have come here in the first spot, just to come to Clemson," he said. "I had interviews with other BCS schools during my time [at Wright State] and other schools that were high paying jobs that weren't BCS. Some I was interested in, some I wasn't. I knew when this job came open that it was one I coveted."

He felt the fit at Clemson was one that not only suited him, but his family, too.

"A lot of my decisions will be based on the girls in my life. My wife and my daughters are the biggest part of my life, so I'm always going to have their interests in mind," Brownell said. "The business is very difficult. People like you one day and they don't like you the next. Things change. The administration changes. The landscape changes at some place.

"Sometimes, things feel good and everything's the way you want it, and you feel like the people you're working with are all working together."

At Clemson, Brownell believes he has just that.

"That's one of the things that Terry Don has been terrific. He's helped us and been supportive and wants to continue to try to do things to make this better," he said. "I always want to be at place where we're trying to move forward."

Playing in one of the nation's premier basketball conferences is challenging enough.

"You already have two super powers in your league, and everybody else that's working at. You better continue to make progress," Brownell said. "I'm encouraged that our administration here wants to do that."

He's identified several areas to ensure that's happening.

"Is the experience a good one for your players?

"Are you doing everything you can to ensure that you have every opportunity to be successful in recruiting?

"Are you investing in facilities, to show that basketball is important at your school?

"Is there a commitment on campus to make sure that your players have a very good experience? Not just with basketball, but do they have a good experience in school?

"All those things have to be going well for you to have an opportunity to have a good program," he said. "When I mean a good program, it's consistent success. That's important. That's what I want to do. I want to be at a place where we can have consistent success. I've been at two other places, and we've had it."

After one season of success at Clemson, Brownell's already started to see some of the side effects.

Associate head coach Rick Ray has been contacted for several mid-major head coaching positions. Georgia State, Northern Illinois and Florida Gulf Coast have all reportedly listed Ray as a candidate.

Currently, Florida Gulf Coast is the only one of the three that hasn't named a head coach.

"I think he's still involved in one. I don't know. I'm not going to get into all that, which one, where's it at. That's not for me to say," Brownell said. "I need to have people that people want. I need to be a coach that people are wanting to contact. "If people aren't wanting to contact me and aren't wanting to contact our staff, then we're probably not being as successful as we need to be. I look at some of that as good problems to have. You have good people that are doing their jobs, and people are recognizing that in the basketball community.

"If administrators and people like that are recognizing that, then coaches and recruits and those kinds of people are recognizing that as well." Top Stories