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
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
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.