Welcome to Clemson, Coach

CLEMSON – Brad Brownell experienced his first sleepless night as the new head basketball coach at Clemson Monday night. Less than a half-day on the job and he was already trying to stomach life in the ACC.

"The pressure is on me. I put more pressure on myself," he said Tuesday afternoon, following his introduction as the 22nd men's basketball coach at Clemson.

"I've done that my whole life. It's who I am. At the same time, you get to this profession and this is what you want to do.

"You want to challenge yourself against the best coaches in America, the best teams, the best programs. You can't go to another league and find anymore better coaches, teams and programs than the ACC."

Before making the offer to Brownell, Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips consulted several people in college basketball coaching circle when searching for Oliver Purnell's replacement. Based on what Phillips heard, he couldn't ignore what was said about Brownell.

"(Coaches) know their character, know what they stand for, know what they how they prepare their teams," Phillips said. "In going through this search, it became very evident that people in this profession feel very strongly about Brad."

He said Brownell was consistently described as a "hard worker, great coach and (of) character."

"You look at his record in what he has done in his short tenure as head coach, we have a fighting chance to be successful under his leadership," Phillips said.

During his four years at UNC Wilmington, Brownell accumulated an 83-40 record. In four years at Wright State, he finished 84-45.

Brownell had one 25-win season at UNC Wilmington in 2005-06 and a 23-win season at Wright State in 2006-07. He has six 20-win seasons and three NCAA Tournament (03, 06, 07) appearances. In postseason conference tournaments, Brownell is 15-5 with three tournament titles to his name.

Along with his wife, two daughters and two assistants from Wright State, Brownell carries three principles from previous his jobs to his new gig at Clemson.

Passion, purpose and pride.

"I want guys that are passionate about our team. I want them to be passionate about each other. I want them to be passionate about our school, passionate about the process of getting better. Champions are passionate about the process," Brownell said. "Purpose, I think you have to work really hard. There's no substitute.

"If you don't work, you're not going to win. It's more than just working hard, you have to work smart…you need to take great pride in what you do. We're going to take great pride here when I'm the coach and being a Clemson Tiger."

"If you don't work, you're not going to win. It's more than just working hard, you have to work smart…you need to take great pride in what you do. We're going to take great pride here when I'm the coach and being a Clemson Tiger." - new Clemson head coach Brad Brownell (Roy Philpott)
After last week's interview with Phillips and senior associate athletic director for external affairs Bill D'Andrea, Brownell was confident that he would be given the opportunity to bring those principles back to the Carolinas.

"They recognized what I was telling them in the interview, that I'm a good fit for this place," Brownell said. "I've been dying to be at a place like Clemson."

Prior to his introduction Tuesday, Brownell met for 30 minutes with the players currently on the roster.

Rising junior guard Tanner Smith believes all of his current teammates will be back for next season.

"I think everybody will stick with it," he said. "It was one of those meetings that was very memorable and something that will stick with us, hopefully throughout the summer and the next season."

Smith said the meeting wasn't all about basketball.

"He seems like the kind of guy who is going to come in and maybe change the way he coaches, a little bit," he said. "He seems very open to suggestions…that's something that is very respectful."

Brownell brings a "versatile" style of play to Clemson.

He'll employ the motion on the offensive end and use just about everything imaginable on the defensive end.

Joining Brownell are former Wright State assistant Mike Winiecki and administrative assistant Lucas McKay. The remaining coaching positions are still open, though.

"I'm taking names. I'm listening because my phone is ringing off the hook about people that want to come join us here," Brownell said. "They know it's a good place. They know I've won and they feel like this could be a great opportunity to make a name for themselves. I'm still holding out hope to see what happens to hire the best staff possible."

On the recruiting trail, Brownell must hit the ground running as he looks to re-recruit the only player signed to the 2010 class—Marcus Thornton.

"You don't panic. You certainly do what you need to do to make end roads in those situations and you get to those people quickly," Brownell said. "You get a survey of the land, but you just don't handout scholarships just for people to fill scholarships. You find people that you hope are going to help your basketball program."

With ties to the state through his time in Wilmington, Brownell is familiar with the coastal region of the state and the metro area of Columbia. He plans to maintain the recruiting "bread basket" of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. He also plans to hit the Midwest and Northeast.

"I think you can get kids to come south. I tried to get kids to come north and it didn't work out too well…you can get kids to come south. We had an unbelievable amount of success at Wilmington getting kids from Ohio to come play—good players," Brownell said.

"We're going to get out and bang with some people."

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