Brad Brownell was named the 22nd head men's basketball coach at Clemson University on April 13, 2010. He inherited a program that had fielded three straight NCAA Tournament teams, and took it to a school-record fourth straight appearance in his first season, 2010-11.
The Evansville, IN native set a Clemson record for wins by a first-year coach in 2010-11 when he took the Tigers to a 22-12 overall record. The Tigers won a first-round NCAA Tournament game against UAB, the program's first tournament victory in 14 years.
Brownell was the only first-year coach to lead his team to an NCAA Tournament win in 2011. He has now taken each of his three schools (Clemson, UNC Wilmington, Wright State) to the "Big Dance" in his first year at each stop.
Clemson compiled a 9-7 record during the ACC regular season and with a Senior Day victory over Virginia Tech on March 5, Brownell's squad clinched the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye at the ACC Tournament.
Brownell's Tigers won an ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament game in the same season at Clemson for the first time since 1990. His club defeated Boston College 70-47 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament, the second-largest margin of victory in Clemson history at the event.
Brownell, who finished second in voting for the ACC's Coach of the Year honor, led the Tigers to season sweeps of Georgia Tech and Miami (FL), as well as a 62-44 win at home over eventual Sweet 16 team and then-ranked No. 22 Florida State.
He coached Demontez Stitt to third-team All-ACC honors in 2011. Stitt went on to be named first-team All-ACC Tournament after back-to-back 20-point games against Boston College and North Carolina.
Fellow senior Jerai Grant flourished in his lone season under Brownell's teaching. Grant averaged career-highs 12.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, and was also an All-ACC Defensive Team member after finishing third in the conference in blocks per game.
In year two, Brownell's team went 16-15 and 8-8 in ACC play - a record fifth straight season the Tigers were .500 or better in conference games. His program defeated three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including eventual Sweet 16 participant NC State.
The Tigers also defeated ACC Tournament champion Florida State by 20 points, the Seminoles' largest margin of defeat all season, as well as a Virginia team ranked No. 22 at the time of the meeting.
Brownell won his 200th game as a head coach when the Tigers knocked off Wake Forest at home, 71-60. His team was second in the ACC in scoring defense for a second straight season, yielding just 60.6 points per game. He coached Andre Young, a member of the All-ACC Defensive Team and the conference's leader in steals per game during the 2011-12 regular season.
Academically, the men's basketball program recorded one of its best all-around years under Brownell's leadership in 2011-12. The team had the highest cumulative GPA on record for a semester (3.13) in the fall, also the top GPA among Clemson men's athletic teams. In the spring, four players were named to the All-ACC Academic Team, including Tanner Smith, just the second four-time selection in Clemson history.
In 2012-13, the Tigers suffered a 13-18 overall record but were impressive in a couple of statistical categories. His team yielded just 60.1 points per game, lowest by any Clemson team since 1950. The Tigers also established a record for fewest turnovers, committing just 11.45 per game. He coached Devin Booker to third-team All-ACC honors. Booker scored 1,154 points in his career, tied for 28th in school history. Booker also finished his tenure with 728 rebounds, No. 10 in the Clemson record books among career leaders.
Brownell enters his 12th season with a career record of 218-130, and a .626 overall winning percentage.
Brownell was the head coach at UNC Wilmington from 2002-03 through the 2005-06 season and posted an 83-40 record, including a 52-20 mark against conference teams. In his four years at Wright State he posted an 84-45 record, including a 55-24 record against conference foes.
In each of his two previous head coaching stops he has taken the program to a school record number of wins as a Division I program. He had a 25-win season at UNC Wilmington in 2005-06 and a 23-win season at Wright State in 2006-07.
Brownell guided UNC Wilmington to the NCAA Tournament in 2003 and 2006 and Wright State to the NCAAs in 2007. He is one of the few active coaches to take two different programs to the NCAA Tournament in consecutive years. Six of his eight teams finished in the top 100 of the RPI, quite an accomplishment at the mid-major level, including a No. 28 final RPI rating for the 2005-06 UNC Wilmington team.
Brownell was named the Colonial Athletic Association Coach-of-the-Year in 2002-03 and 2005-06 and the Horizon League Coach-of-the-Year in 2007-08. Additionally, Brownell was one of 15 finalists for the Hugh Durham Coach-of-the-Year Award for mid-major programs in 2007 and was the NABC District 10 Coach-of-the-Year. FoxSports.com also named him the Mid-Major Coach-of-the-Year in 2006, his final year at UNC Wilmington.
Brownell was named the seventh head coach in Wright State history on March 31, 2006. His very first year, he led the Raiders to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993. The team had a 23-10 final mark, and established a record for wins since the program entered the Division I level in 1987.
That 2006-07 team finished with a 15-3 record against Horizon League competition, including two conference tournament wins that gave Wright State the league championship. The 23 wins included a pair of wins over a 27-7 Butler team that would reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
In 2007-08, he guided Wright State to a 21-win season and a second-place finish in the Horizon League. The season featured a 12-6 conference record, including a victory over Butler in the regular season, one of just four losses for the Bulldogs in 34 games that year.
The 2007-08 team finished 14th in the nation in scoring defense and 30th in the nation in three-point shooting at 39 percent. That year, he coached the Horizon League Player-of-the-Year, a first-team selection, an all-league defensive team member and two All-Newcomer members.
His 2008-09 team finished with a 20-13 overall record and a 12-6 league mark. His club won the San Juan Shootout and reached the championship game of the Horizon League Tournament. In 2009-10, Wright State was 20-12 with a third straight 12-6 Horizon League record. Also in 2010, Brownell coached guard Vaughn Duggins to second-team All-Horizon League honors, as well as the All-Defensive Team.
Brownell began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Evansville under Jim Crews in 1991-92 and he helped that program to a 24-6 record. He served as an assistant at the University of Indianapolis in 1992-93 and 1993-94.
He then started a 12-year-run at UNC Wilmington, eight as an assistant or associate head coach, and four as the head coach. He was an assistant for the Seahawks from 1994-95 through 2001-02. His final year as an assistant under Jerry Wainwright, UNC Wilmington posted a 23-10 record, including a 17-4 mark versus conference teams (including the CAA Tournament). That team defeated Southern California in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in overtime.
His first UNC Wilmington team (2002-03) won 24 games and won the CAA postseason tournament. His club lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to defending national champion Maryland on a Drew Nicholas shot at the buzzer, 75-73.
UNC Wilmington posted a 25-8 mark his final season, 2005-06, including a victory over Final Four participant George Mason, and won the CAA Tournament. The Seahawks lost in overtime to George Washington, 88-85, in the NCAA Tournament that year.
His four-year Colonial Athletic Association record was 61-22, the best league mark during the period. Brownell was twice named the CAA Coach-of-the-Year (2003 and 2006). He coached five All-CAA performers, one CAA Player-of-the-Year in Brett Blizzard, four All-Defensive Team selections, one Defensive Player-of-the-Year and seven CAA All-Academic honorees.
The 44-year old earned three letters as a player at DePauw University, a Division III school in Greencastle, IN. He ranks seventh in school history with 332 career assists. He led the Tigers in assists three straight seasons, while also leading DePauw in steals as a junior in 1989-90. Brownell also shot 78.2 percent from the free throw line over the course of his career, one of the top accuracy figures in DePauw history.
Brownell earned his bachelor's degree from DePauw in 1991 and completed his master's degree at the University of Indianapolis in 1994. He is a graduate of Harrison High School in Evansville, IN where he was a high school teammate of Calbert Cheaney, who later became the National Player-of-the-Year in 1993 at Indiana.
Brownell and his wife, Paula, have two daughters, Abby (14) and Kate (12).