After spending a season of playing all of its home games in Greenville, South Carolina, Clemson will now return to a new and improved Littlejohn Coliseum on Nov. 11, when the Tigers open the season hosting Georgia. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Friday in the new Burton Gallery to commemorate the opening of the new facility.
IPTAY and basketball supporters who donated to the new facility, gathered to celebrate the exciting new renovations while key members of the Clemson University and the athletic department addressed the crowd.
Here is what we heard from the ribbon cutting ceremony:
Athletic Director Dan Radakovich thanked the donors for helping Clemson continue to strive to be the best.
“This is what we are charged to do within the athletic department. We need to assess the needs of our student-athletes and our coaches. These renovations you see before you here in the Burton Gallery–thank you Bill and Lynne–and in the Swann Pavilion–thank you Joe and Bobby–for these facilities to allow our student-athletes and our coaches to be the best. That is what we do from an athletic administration perspective,” Radakovich said.
President Jim Clements was beaming with excitement and pride while discussing the advancements of the basketball programs and the new facilities.
“I really do believe the best is yet to come for Clemson Basketball,” Clements said.
Head Men’s Basketball coach Brad Brownell said the new Littlejohn and the Swann Pavillion was a necessary addition that will help continue to move the program forward.
“It’s something that I kind of challenged myself to get done. Very early on I knew I wanted to do this,” he said. “Aaron Dunham, and I got together, and I just talked to him about it. ‘Hey, we need to make this happen.’ Clemson basketball can’t have the success that people want without making facility improvements. We had to convince people that this is what we need and we have to find a way to figure out how to do it. I was certainly willing to do what I needed to do make it happen and he took me up on that.”
Brownell expressed his extreme gratitude to the donors who provided the funds to help build players facilities to aid in their growth and development as athletes.
“Joe and Bobby Swann, I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done and the impact they are having on our program,” Brownell said.
The Clemson coach said that the new facilities will definitely help in recruiting, but he placed an emphasis on enhancing the lives of his current players.
“One of the things we all talk about and everyone comes to me about is always recruiting,” Brownell said. “Obviously it is unbelievably important, but what is more important is the guys that are here. That is always my answer. The best recruiters we have are (our players). They are great kids. They graduate, they play their tails off. They try to do right, and if they are having a great experience, if they feel supported, if they feel there is a commitment to basketball here, they are going to continue to sell that vision and that dream to other people.”
Forward Jaron Blossomgame said the new facility played a role in his decision to return to play at Clemson for his last season.
“The excitement around basketball is at an all time high right now, so I am really glad and happy about my decision to come back,” the senior said.