Even with spring football over, there is still plenty going on at Clemson. Senior writer Matt Connolly is ready to answer whatever questions you might have. You can submit your question for the “Question of the Day” here. Today’s question is about Clemson’s basketball and baseball programs.
Why has the athletic department not told us what the true expectations are for Men's and Women's basketball and baseball. I have no idea what is expected over the next few years because our AD never says
— ClemsonHypeHouse (@ClemsonHype) April 18, 2021
Clemson AD Dan Radakovich hasn’t come right out and said exactly what he expects from the baseball and men’s and women’s basketball programs recently, but he has offered plenty of hints during his tenure.
It’s pretty clear what is expected from each of the three sports. Let’s break them down one-by-one.
The Clemson baseball program is expected to make the postseason every year and to have success once it gets there. Jack Leggett is a Hall of Fame coach who made the NCAA Tournament in 21 of 22 seasons. Yet he was fired in 2015 after Clemson went five seasons without making it out of a regional.
Clemson went to the College World Series six times under Leggett and hasn’t had a losing season since 1957.
Clemson women’s basketball
The expectations for the women’s basketball program have changed over the years. The Tigers were very successful for nearly two decades under Jim Davis from 1987-2005, winning at least 20 games in 11 of his 18 seasons. But Clemson has only won 20 games once since — in 2018-19 under current coach Amanda Butler.
Clemson had 14 consecutive losing seasons before Butler’s impressive turnaround in 2018-19. If you can make the NCAA Tournament every few years and avoid multiple disastrous seasons in a row it will be considered a success at this point as Butler tries to build the program back up. The Tigers won only five ACC games in Audra Smith’s final four years from 2014-18 before Butler took over.
Clemson men’s basketball
The expectations are somewhere in the middle between baseball and women’s basketball. You’re not expected to make the NCAA Tournament every year, but you need to have a winning record at minimum more often than not and regularly get to the postseason — whether that be the NCAA Tournament or NIT.
Brad Brownell has his share of critics who point out he has only been to the NCAA Tournament three times in 11 seasons, but he also has only one losing season during that time and has made the NCAA Tournament or NIT more than half of his years at Clemson. The Tigers have also finished .500 or better in the ACC in seven of 11 years. Clemson cares about men’s basketball and women’s basketball, which is why it spent more than $60 million to renovate Littlejohn Coliseum. But it also doesn’t have unrealistic expectations for two programs that have historically had some struggles.