Culture Change


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Culture Change
Steve Spurrier talked about it. So did Lou Holtz. It seemed like an impossible feat, but they talked about changing the culture of South Carolina football and it appears both had brief stints of success in accomplishing that in Columbia.

This is what Clemson basketball is faced with. I don't care who the coach at Clemson is next year, or in the next ten years, goal number one is to change the culture.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat in the terminal at Greenville/Spartanburg airport. A couple of other travelers came up to me and asked about my trip. They saw my Clemson apparel and asked if I lived here and where I was going. I informed them that I was headed to Brooklyn for the ACC tournament and one responded, "Seems like a long way to go for a short trip." The conversation quickly turned to Dabo Swinney and Clemson football.

This is exactly what I am referring to. My guess was that about ten different schools in the ACC were looking forward to the conference tournament and the post season, but it seems like we dread it.

A few weeks ago, I had a revealing conversation with an athletic department official. He told me a story about Dabo Swinney and his optimism. He said Dabo talks about the two biggest fights he ever got into while on the staff as an assistant at Clemson. The first argument was with Tommy Bowden about the recruiting of C.J. Spiller. Bowden doubted Swinney could even get Spiller in for an official visit and wanted to look closer at other backs on the recruiting board. Dabo fought and fought and eventually convinced the rest of the staff Clemson had a chance. We all know what happened later that winter.

The other fight was about Tim Tebow. Clemson had just gotten a verbal from another quarterback and Dabo was told he had to stop recruiting Tebow. Dabo is the eternal optimist and probably still believes he could have signed the future Heisman Trophy winner.

This kind of optimism permeates through his players, coaches and fans. When Chandler Catanzaro lined up for the game winner against LSU, as a fan base, we knew he was going to make the kick. We thought NC State and Pittsburgh were going to miss their game winning field goals this season. We all know State did and Pitt did not, but the point is we still believed. When Deshaun barked out signals before the Renfrow touchdown to win the title, we thought we were going to score.

With a 3-2 count on Seth Beer in Columbia, many of us still believed in this team. We watched Monte Lee's first season and we saw all of the comebacks. We saw a three run deficit erased Saturday and we believed. Then we watched Beer rip the Gamecocks' hearts out.

Clemson football and Clemson baseball fans are optimistic people. We believe the Tigers will always find a way.

I got a phone call from my dad during the Clemson-Virginia Tech basketball game this year. There was five minutes left on the clock and the game was very close. He said you know what is going to happen. He said, "we are going to get our hearts ripped out at the buzzer."

We have to change the culture of Clemson basketball. I don't care if Brad Brownell or Phil Jackson coaches the Tigers the next ten seasons, we need to change the culture.

Now it is easier to believe in Deshaun Watson and Seth Beer, but we still need to find a way in basketball.

Our biggest obstacle in basketball is not our history, tradition, support, facilities, etc. Our biggest obstacle is the culture. We have to change from within first, but it is time to change the way we feel. Brownell or whoever is the coach has to believe we can sign players. We have to believe we will win championships. It's time for our fan base to stop making excuses about how tough the league is and how bad our history is. We need to find a way. Stop the excuses and find a way. Virginia Tech and FSU were as bad or worse than we are and they have found a way. It can be done here.

As a Clemson fan it is so nice to know we are going to win in football and baseball no matter the opponent or venue. Wouldn't that be nice in basketball?

Radakovich said today that Brownell will make changes in the program. The first change needs to be in the culture.

The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency



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