Moving in the right direction

CLEMSON - Brad Brownell's building needs more than a couple of coats of fresh paint and a few minor upgrades here and there.

Littlejohn Coliseum won't knocked over a built from scratch, but the Clemson basketball program is getting the next best thing.

Still several years away from ground breaking, a rebuilt building will do just fine, just as long as it's done right. And it appears that it will be.

Dan Radakovich has a history of doing this kind of thing the right way.

"I'm really excited about it. Thankful to the trustees and the administration for pushing things forward, I think it's going to really help our program," Brownell said. "I don't know that we'll see the benefits for a while. It's still a couple of years away from us really benefiting from things -- until you start seeing some dirt moved and real projects.

"But I do think, just the idea that we're going to make a major rebuild to Littlejohn is really exciting to basketball."

Littlejohn carried an $8 million price tag upon its completion in 1968. After its $31 million facelift was finished in 2003, Littlejohn is now slated for another round of dramatic changes.

According to the official Clemson website:

The rebuilt Coliseum will inspire and engage both the players and the fans through a whole new interior layout and design that will be extremely media rich. In addition to a renovated playing arena and seating bowl (approximately 8,500 seats), the facility will incorporate all aspects of men's and women's basketball program operations. This includes coaches' offices, weight rooms, locker rooms, video editing and theater areas housed in a separate practice facility addition.

Littlejohn Coliseum will also see a significant upgrade to the quality and character of the public exterior face of the building. The massing of the building will in large part remain, but the incorporation of transparent materials and the use of light in more contemporary ways will be high on the list of desired changes. In the end, the building will be transformed in almost every way.

"It makes a statement to people, recruits, our fans, players, former players [and] everybody, that basketball is important to Clemson and we want to be good here," Brownell said. "I think it couldn't come at a better time, with all the new schools coming into the ACC, I think every school, probably, in our league is looking to do some things to make a bump in their program. A lot of people have been doing it."

Though we're at least three years away from seeing the rebuilt Littlejohn open for business, the new facility will be a significant upgrade.

The entire basketball operation will be together under one roof.

"I had the good fortune when I was at Wright State we had a practice facility with our offices in that building…the added benefit of every time your guys come to the arena or come to your home and you actually feel like it is your home," he said. "The offices are there. Treatment facilities are there. Strength training is there. You have so much interaction with your players on a daily basis."

It's hard to put a value on having that kind of set up for basketball, or any athletic building, for that matter.

Just look at the West End Zone.

"Instead of just seeing them at practice, seeing them during the day when they come over for treatment. You stop by and see them. It's easier. Or they come up to your office, because it's right there," Brownell said. "I think it's a huge improvement for the program that most people wouldn't realize. Everybody being under one roof and having a place that you feel like is your true home, I think, really helps the program a lot."

These days, it's all about the arms race. And it's not even up for debate: Clemson was behind the curve in basketball.

"I think if you're not careful, if you're not doing something every year to push yourself forward, somebody is passing you," Brownell said. "We certainly do everything we need to do with that in football. I think it's paid great dividends, especially recently. It wasn't that long ago that football wasn't a Top 10 team, doing all the great things they've done."

And that's proven to be a pretty good blueprint for success. Top Stories