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Clemson's Brownell gets 6-year, $15 million contract

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

By PETE IACOBELLI

AP Sports Writer

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Considered a recent "hot-seat" candidate, Clemson's Brad Brownell has the chance to become the longest-serving men's basketball coach in Tiger history.

Brownell received a new six-year contract on Thursday that will pay him $15 million through 2024. He's spent eight seasons at Clemson, and his previous contract was through 2021.

His average salary increases to $2.5 million per year. He was scheduled to make $1.9 million this season before that bumped up to $2 million for each of the final two years of his old deal.

The 49-year-old Brownell began at Clemson in the 2010-2011 season. Should he remain there through this deal, he'll surpass the previous best of 10 seasons held by Banks McFadden (1947-56) and Cliff Ellis (1985-94).

Brownell thanked athletic director Dan Radakovich, president Jim Clements and the board for their support.

"I'm extremely thankful and blessed to have the opportunity to coach at this great university," Brownell said.

There were serious questions how much longer that might be when the season started. The Tigers had lost all-Atlantic Coast Conference forward Jaron Blossomgame and were picked 13th in the ACC preseason poll.

Yet, relying on steady senior leadership in Gabe DeVoe and Donte Granthan, the Tigers tied a school record with 25 wins, tied for the third in ACC and reached the NCAA Tournament's round of 16 in their first trip since Brownell's first season.

"We have a tremendous amount of momentum and excitement in our basketball program and that is a testament to Brad's leadership," Radakovich said. "This new agreement demonstrates to Brad our continued strong commitment and support to him, his assistant coaches and to our basketball program."

The school's compensation committee of the board of trustees approved the deal.

Brownell held the Tigers together through an eventful season. The team had a summer trip to Spain and was staying Barcelona when a deadly van attack occurred outside their hotel. No one in Clemson's party was injured.

Clemson also overcame a season-ending injury to Grantham in January and point-guard Shelton Mitchell missed several games with a concussion in February.

The Tigers may have been at their best in March. After opening with a win over 12th seeded New Mexico State, Clemson throttled No. 4 seed Auburn in one of the tournament's biggest surprises.

Clemson rallied late, but could not catch up to No. 1 seed Kansas in an 80-76 loss.

Most of that team returns next season with high-scoring guards Mitchell and Marcquise Reed and forward Elijah Thomas.

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Updated July 19, 2018

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