Larry Brown impressed by Brownell, says he has Tigers 'going in the right direction'

'I'm amazed at the quality of coaching on the college level from guys like him'

Clemson's K.J. McDaniels hugs SMU head coach Larry Brown after the Tigers lost to SMU in the NCAA NIT semi-finals at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's K.J. McDaniels hugs SMU head coach Larry Brown after the Tigers lost to SMU in the NCAA NIT semi-finals at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Brad Brownell was an 11-year-old self-described 'gym rat' when Larry Brown coached his UCLA Bruins to an 85-74 victory over Clemson in the 1980 NCAA West Regional finals at Tucson, Ariz., denying the Tigers their only shot at advancing to the Final Four.

A lot of years have passed for the well-traveled Brown. But the older he gets in the business, the more he's impressed with the new generation of young coaches, of whom he counts Brownell one.

"Oh, he's great," said Brown of Brownell after the Hall of Fame coach's SMU team defeated the Tigers Tuesday night in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden. "I got a little North Carolina background and I know what kind of job he did at (UNC) Wilmington.

"I know what (former Seahawks coach) Jerry Wainwright thought about him, and I have great respect for Jerry.

"I'm amazed at the quality of coaching on the college level from guys like him. I mean, young coaches on the college level are pretty darned good."

Brown said he was impressed by the Tigers, who, like his Mustangs, made a strong case for being included in the NCAA tournament this year.

"That's a young team," said Brown of the Tigers. "They are real young. They had a couple tough losses late in the year or else they might have been in the NCAA Tournament.

"It's not an easy league but I think he's got it going in the right direction."

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 2

michtiger writes:

Brown is correct, this was a great coaching job. In Nov if we had predicted 19 regular season wins and four acc, nit wins it would have been funny. KJ has made great strides, Nnoko is maturing quickly, Hall is getting better but still needs to be more careful with the ball, Roper is gaining and Blossomgame will be a star and Harrison is solid. For next year we need another shooter and really concerned that Filer is a point guard, too many fouls and TOs, seems out of control. Another big man is needed. We made really good progress and I expect more for next year. Brownell got all he could out of this group. Lets not get carried away. Remember ACC was much weaker, our out of confer. was very weak, we only played 1 of the top 4 teams in conf. 1 time, and Duke was only rank win and there were some really ugly loses ( Auburn, ND, WF ). Things are looking up. Its interesting to me that with this progress we see little chatter on the blog but FB practice gets comments. The second comment is I hope that KJ looks at the ESPN2 replay and pays attention to Knights comments. He is fabulous but needs some work. Great Job.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to michtiger:

Brown is correct, this was a great coaching job. In Nov if we had predicted 19 regular season wins and four acc, nit wins it would have been funny. KJ has made great strides, Nnoko is maturing quickly, Hall is getting better but still needs to be more careful with the ball, Roper is gaining and Blossomgame will be a star and Harrison is solid. For next year we need another shooter and really concerned that Filer is a point guard, too many fouls and TOs, seems out of control. Another big man is needed. We made really good progress and I expect more for next year. Brownell got all he could out of this group. Lets not get carried away. Remember ACC was much weaker, our out of confer. was very weak, we only played 1 of the top 4 teams in conf. 1 time, and Duke was only rank win and there were some really ugly loses ( Auburn, ND, WF ). Things are looking up. Its interesting to me that with this progress we see little chatter on the blog but FB practice gets comments. The second comment is I hope that KJ looks at the ESPN2 replay and pays attention to Knights comments. He is fabulous but needs some work. Great Job.

These articles are funny. Larry Brown, what do you think of Brad Brownell? "Oh, he's great." Has a coach ever said of another coach, "eh, I'm not a fan but if they like him..."? No one writes articles about really good coaches getting compliments from other coaches. The reason is that it's not newsworthy. Yeah, everyone knows Jim Larranaga can coach. But if someone says Brad Brownell can coach? Well we HAVE to write an article about that because that opinion is RARE outside of Clemson! The fact that this article is even written should tell Clemson fans something.

This wasn't anything close to a great coaching job. First of all, Brownell torpedoed any chance of getting to the NCAA tournament before the season even started by making the weakest schedule possible. Why would predicting 19 regular season wins be funny? Who did they beat that was a surprise to you? Duke at home was it. They didn't win a single meaningful game away from home unless you want to include fellow NIT semi-finalist FSU. And that's why they were never even considered a bubble team like FSU and NC State were despite finishing ahead of them in the ACC standings.

The league only gets tougher next year. Look at the incoming coaches. Louisville replaces Maryland so Mark Turgeon gets replaced with Rick Pitino. James Johnson got replaced with Buzz Williams which is probably the best hire this offseason in the country. VT will be competitive very quickly. Wake Forest replaced Bzdelik with Danny Manning. Another excellent hire. He was a big-time recruiter as an assistant at Kansas and he'll do the same at Wake. BC made a Clemson-like hire with Jim Christian so they're going to continue to stink.

There's 15 schools in the ACC. 4 coaches have won at least 1 national championship (Boeheim, Pitino, Coach K, Roy Williams). Another coach has been to the Final 4 (Larranaga). Another 3 have been to the elite 8 (Jamie Dixon, Buzz Williams, Mark Gottfried). And 3 more have been to the sweet 16 (Brey, Bennett, Hamilton). That means 11 of the 15 coaches have made it to the 2nd week of the NCAA tournament. Only 3 ACC coaches have not made it past the round of 64: Jim Christian at BC, Wake's new coach Danny Manning who has only been a head coach for 2 years, and............ your beloved BRAD BROWNELL.

This is as good as it's going to get with Brad Brownell. There's too many good coaches out there to have to put up with the low ceiling Brownell has. It's been 4 years and Clemson was better off under Oliver Purnell. It's clear by now that Brownell couldn't build off Purnell's success. You should go out and hire someone who can or go expect to slide backwards in the ACC.

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