Clemson plans to keep basketball coach Brad Brownell around a while.
The school announced Friday that it had agreed to a six-year deal with Brownell worth $10.6 million. The agreement will bring Brownell a $350,000 raise for next season to $1.55 million and will eventually grow to $2 million in the contract’s final year of 2019-20.
Brownell’s chances of lasting past last season were not good with some after his 2013 team went 13-18, the Tigers first losing season in nine years. But Brownell turned things around behind high-flying forward K.J. McDaniels to go 23-13 and advance to the NIT national semifinals this past season.
Brownell thanked Clemson administrators for their confidence in his leadership.
“I look forward to building on the success of this past season and believe there is a great deal of positive momentum within the program,” Brownell said in a statement.
Brownell can earn a series of bonuses that range from $10,000 for reaching the NIT to $100,000 for winning the ACC or NCAA tournaments.
Should the school fire Brownell without cause next year, it would owe him $5 million. That figure falls to $3.5 million halfway through the six years and to $3 million in the final two years.
If Brownell decides to leave next season, he would owe Clemson $1.5 million. That total also reduces over the length of the deal.
Brownell has gone 74-58 in four seasons. He reached the NCAA tournament his first season in 2011 after replacing Oliver Purnell before two straight non-winning seasons.
Brownell won’t the easiest path to keep Clemson strong in the super-sized Atlantic Coast Conference. After next season, the Tigers will have to relocate for a season from campus as Littlejohn Coliseum undergoes a massive renovation expected to cost between $60 million and $80 million.
The team will play in Greenville, about 45 minutes away, before returning to the revamped building for the 2016-17 season.
It’s the second time Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich locked up a coach for the long term. In January, the school and coach Dabo Swinney agreed to an eight-year deal that will pay him $3.15 million next season.
“We’re excited to have him lead our program into the future for a long time to come,” Radakovich said.
Clemson came into this season picked 14th in the 15-team ACC. Instead, the Tigers won 10 league games for just the fourth time since joining the ACC in 1953.
A big reason was McDaniels, who became the face of the program this season with his jams and dunks. McDaniels finished the year with 100 blocks and was named the ACC’s defensive player of the year.
Brownell will have his hands full trying to replace McDaniels next season after the junior gave up his final season to enter the NBA draft. Brownell, though, believes that the players he brought in the past few years will prove they belong in the ACC as McDaniels did during his time.
“I’m very proud of what we got done this season,” Brownell said. “We’d certainly love to take the next step.”