CLEMSON –- This is the time of year when most of football-mad Clemson is still a sleepy college town, and a significant portion of the population is under the sun somewhere else on vacation.
Brad Brownell’s world is much different. The dog days of the summer are some of the busiest days of the year, largely because it’s recruiting season. Brownell looked at his calendar and estimated he’ll have one day off over the next five weeks as he traverses the AAU basketball circuit and then takes his team to Spain on Aug. 8 for a 10-day venture.
After a brief introduction for his exclusive, annual summer sit-down with Tigerillustrated.com for an in-depth interview, the topic soon turns to what has bugged him most since the end of a bitterly disappointing 17-16 season that fell short of the NCAA Tournament.
“We weren’t very good on defense,” he said with a sigh.
A few more stops here and there, and the conversations after the season are probably different. The Tigers probably don’t go 4-12 in games decided by six points or less, and Brownell probably doesn’t have to make the gut-wrenching decision to part ways with longtime lieutenant and close friend Mike Winiecki.
The 48-year-old Brownell, 124-103 in seven seasons at Clemson, was able to hang onto his job when athletics director Dan Radakovich determined there’s a lot of good going on in this program despite 13 losses in 19 ACC games and the long NCAA drought that stretched to six consecutive seasons.
In a wide-ranging interview with Tigerillustrated.com today, Brownell offered a frank and sober appraisal of what has separated Clemson from achieving all that it wants to, and what it will take for the Tigers to reach their potential from this point.
Here is Part 1: