An apparent decision has already been made on Brad Brownell’s future, not that there was ever any doubt. Several news outlets reported Friday that the Clemson’s men’s basketball coach will return for his 11th season, just a day after the college basketball season came to a screeching halt thanks to the coronavirus.
The Tigers ended their 2019-20 season with an overall record of 16-15. They were set to face #1 seed Florida State in the ACC Tournament on Thursday before being informed that the tournament was being canceled.
Brownell’s Tigers battled injuries all season. Potential starters Chase Hunter and Jonathan Baehre missed most of the year with injuries. Clyde Trapp missed the first two months of the season as well and actually returned earlier than expected.
Clemson was still able to get upset wins over #3 Duke, #5 Louisville and #6 Florida State. Brownell’s squad did something no other Tiger team before them had ever done. They got a win over UNC in Chapel Hill, ending an 0-59 streak. This was one of the most dubious streaks in all of sports, and a huge weight taken off of the program’s shoulders.
They also dropped games against Wake Forest and Miami, teams that finished near the bottom of the conference.
I’ve been doing this almost 30 years and it’s one of the more unique seasons I’ve ever been a part of. I do think as we won some games, expectations changed and they should. But I’m proud of what this team has done and how they’ve tried to evolve and the way they’ve competed and conducted themselves this year.Brad Brownell on his 2019-20 Team
In his 10 seasons at Clemson, Brownell has compiled a record of 185-142. The Tigers have two NCAA tournament appearances (2011 and 2018) and reached the Sweet 16 in 2018, getting Brownell a new six year contract extension that runs through 2024.
After the sweet sixteen run in 2018, they seemed to take a step back last season. Clemson went 20-14, missed the NCAA tournament, and lost in the second round of the NIT to Witchita St.
The Tigers have also appeared in the NIT three times under Brownell and had a strong case to make the NIT this year before the season and tournament were canceled.
There are reasons to be optimistic for Brownell’s Tigers next season. This team only loses two contributors, Tevin Mack and Curran Scott.
They bring in two top 100 players PJ Hall and Olivier-Maxence Prosper, and have Fordham transfer Nick Honor coming into the fold to help Aamir Simms, Al-Amir Dawes, and John Newman III next season.
Will the Tigers ever be successful in basketball? Some say it’s possible while others argue that Clemson will always be an ACC bottom feeder.
One thing is certain, the next season or two will decide how much longer Brownell is this team’s coach. The program takes a step forward or it doesn’t. If it’s the latter, Clemson will be looking for a new head coach.