Clemson and Georgia Tech made a couple of men’s basketball coaching moves on Monday. I think they were the right ones too.
Let’s start with Clemson. Brad Brownell will be back next season. To me, this seemed like a no-brainer, but a significant number of Clemson fans were less than happy about the decision. After winning 23 regular games you can’t fire Brownell, you just can’t. He also finished 3rd in the ACC with a 14-6 record, a Clemson record for ACC wins. His critics claim it was only because the ACC was down. Twelve other ACC teams had the opportunity to finish ahead of Clemson and didn’t.
The problem is the optics. Clemson will never be a destination basketball location, and if you fire a coach after winning 23 games, I guarantee that some candidates would question taking the Clemson job. I’m not suggesting Brownell get an extension but firing him? No that would be a bad look after a season that should have had them in the NCAA Tournament.
Next year though I would highly recommend, Brownell make the Big Dance, or that’s probably the end of the Brad Brownell era at Clemson.
Georgia Tech also made its move Monday. After firing Josh Pastner, they named a replacement pretty quickly – Boston Celtic assistant Damon Stoudamire. This hire came out of the blue, but it’s been universally hailed by the media as a good hire. Stoudamire was an All-American at Arizona and 15-year veteran of the NBA. He’s coached in college and the NBA across multiple spots. He inherited a Pacific team dealing with sanctions and won 23 games in his 4th year there while being name WCC coach of the year in 2020.
Stoudamire brings a national buzz to Georgia Tech that simply was never there under Josh Pastner, Brian Gregory, or the later stages of Paul Hewitt’s tenure. I fully expect recruiting to uptick. I think there is still some question with his limited head coaching experience at the high major collegiate level, but there is a lot of upside here. It shows Georgia Tech is committed to turning around a basketball program that’s been stuck in neutral for more than a decade.
In the end, you can question the moves by Clemson and Georgia Tech, but they are the right moves at the moment.