GREENWOOD, S.C. — Clemson coach Brad Brownell had the chance to make his first public remarks on the two new assistant hires that the program announced last month.
At Wednesday’s Prowl and Growl in Greenwood, The Clemson Insider asked Brownell about the additions of Billy Donlon and Sean Dixon to his coaching staff and what he identified when making those hires.
“Well, Billy Donlon is an outstanding get for me (as an) associate head coach,” Brownell said Wednesday. “But, a guy who’s been a head coach at two schools and been with me forever. I coached him in college, I’ve known him since he was 18 and he’s just a great basketball coach. He’s going to do an unbelievable job with our perimeter players.”
For Brownell, Donlon is a familiar addition to the Tigers’ bench. A coaching veteran of more than two decades, Donlon had two previous stints working as an assistant under Brownell, first at UNC-Wilmington (2002-06) before following Brownell to Wright State (2006-10). Donlon, who spent three seasons as the head coach at UMKC, took over at Wright State when Brownell was hired at Clemson following the 2009-10 season.
Donlon has also been an assistant at American, Saint Peter’s, Michigan and Northwestern.
“He and I just worked really well together,” Brownell continued. “He was an assistant at Wright State, before that he was an assistant at UNC Wilmington. We’ve had a lot of success together. I think we just fit very well together and he brings a great deal of experience at the level, having been in Northwestern and Michigan.
“I just think he’s a home run hire for us in terms of a guy that fits me, has the experience and has sat in this chair. I think that helps when you have a guy or two on your staff that’s been a head coach and understands a little bit more what the head coach is dealing with.”
As for Dixon, he played at Presbyterian, where he also got his start in coaching. Dixon, a native of Marietta, Georgia, spent the last three seasons as an assistant at Middle Tennessee State.
Before that, Dixon spent five seasons on staff at UNC-Asheville, helping the Bulldogs win the Big South tournament championship in 2016, a share of the regular-season conference title in 2017 and the outright league championship in 2018. He also served as Asheville’s recruiting coordinator.
“Sean Dixon is great,” Brownell said, “a terrific young coach. He was a very good player at Presbyterian. I really respect Sean. He’s a lot like me in that he was a guy who’s just kind of worked his way up through the business, having been a bunch of different places and helping them build a program at UNC-Asheville and really did an excellent job there at Middle Tennessee for (head coach) Nick McDevitt, where those guys have really taken over and had a really good year.
“He’s an outstanding recruiter, with a lot of ties in the Southeast. A good basketball coach and was a very good player. And then, just a really good personality, who I think will fit really well with our players.”
Staff writer Davis Potter contributed to this story.