Tigers’ basketball coach lets San Diego know what makes Clemson so special
SAN DIEGO — Brad Brownell has always been a guy that speaks his mind.
So when a reporter asked him on Thursday about the advantages of coaching at a school that is prominently known for its football, Brownell was very honest with his answer.
“There are advantages and disadvantages in a lot of things,” he said.
The disadvantage of course is getting over the hurdle of making basketball a big thing, again, at Clemson. Brownell feels they have made strides in doing that with the level of commitment the athletic department has shown in recent years in regards to new facilities, the new Littlejohn and providing help with the infrastructure of the program.
“There are tremendous advantages being at Clemson, because of the success under Coach (Dabo) Swinney, and what that’s meant nationally for our school and our athletic department as a whole,” Brownell said. “I’m a huge Coach Swinney fan. He has left me messages multiple times this week, and sounds more excited than I am that we’re in the tournament.
“He is a huge basketball guy. He played high school basketball.”
Earlier this week, Swinney told the media how happy and proud he was for Brownell and his team for the success they have had in getting to today’s first round game of the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers, the No. 5 seed, will face No. 12 seed New Mexico in the Midwest Regional at Viejas Arena in San Diego at 9:57 p.m.
“When we have football games, we’ve got our best recruits going to that environment, Death Valley, on a Saturday. It’s an incredible experience,” Brownell said. “It’s an incredible weekend, and whenever we bring a recruit, people that aren’t from the area, they’re shocked, because it’s special.
“And at the same time in the middle of January when we’re playing a big-time ACC game, Coach Swinney is expecting six or eight tickets right there behind the bench for some of the best high school football players in the country. Obviously we are happy to deliver.”
Brownell describes Clemson as an unbelievable experience with how close all the coaches from all the teams are. He says the Clemson Family just is not a saying, but it is genuine and very real.
“It’s a shared experience,” he said. “I know schools talk about family, and I cringe because I’ve been at other schools and I hear other people talk about it. At Clemson we live it. We are a town of 12,000 people. There are six football coaches that live in my neighborhood. We just are around each other all the time, and it’s real.
“We actually really do spend time together. We want the best for all of our athletes. We want the best for our students. A big part of that is the athletic department and what that means to our community. It’s special and I think when you come to Clemson that’s what you see.”