CBKB: Clemson hires Brad Brownell as basketball coach
CLEMSON, S.C. — Brad Brownell of Wright State was hired Tuesday as the basketball coach at Clemson, which is turning to another coach from a mid-major school in Ohio.
Brownell succeeds Oliver Purnell, who was hired in 2003 from Dayton and led Clemson to the past three NCAA tournaments. Purnell surprised Clemson last week when he left to coach DePaul.
Clemson said Brownell was to be introduced Tuesday at an afternoon news conference, where terms of the agreement were to be discussed.
"Brad Brownell is an unbelievable coach," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "He has been a winner everywhere he has been. I am happy to see Brad go to a great school and a great program like Clemson."
Brownell went 84-45 in four years at Wright State. He led the Raiders to a 20-12 record last year, including 12-6 in the Horizon League. Wright State lost to NCAA tournament runner-up Butler in the conference championship game.
Before arriving at Wright State, Brownell coached UNC-Wilmington and went 83-40 in four seasons.
At Clemson, Purnell was 138-88, including three straight first-round losses in the NCAA tournament. Purnell took a school that was near the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference and built it into a contender, although his teams tended to fade down the stretch.
Clemson had only once before made the NCAA tournament in three straight seasons. The Tigers, however, lost each time as the higher-seeded team. Last month, they were beaten by Missouri.
Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips learned of Purnell's departure last Tuesday. Phillips spent the week vetting candidates that included former Boston College coach Al Skinner, Wofford coach Mike Young and Tigers interim coach Ron Bradley.
The most serious appeared to be Rick Stansbury of Mississippi State. He said Monday he and his wife met with Phillips and considered jumping from the Southeastern Conference before deciding to remain with the Bulldogs. That left Phillips targeting Brownell, who has won 20 games in each of his past six seasons.
Brownell inherits an inexperienced corps of players, and some challenges. Devin Booker, the brother of star Trevor Booker, has talked about leaving. The family of Tiger signee Marcus Thornton had asked the school for a release from his letter of intent after Purnell's departure.