CLEMSON WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

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Why Clemson? Newest coach Shawn Poppie says Clemson is a sleeping giant
New Clemson women's basketball coach Shawn Poppie was introduced by AD Graham Neff.

Why Clemson? Newest coach Shawn Poppie says Clemson is a sleeping giant


by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Why Clemson? Because Shawn Poppie believes the Tigers are a sleeping giant.

Shawn Poppie was formally introduced to the Clemson media Tuesday afternoon in Littlejohn Coliseum. One of the questions he was asked was, “Why Clemson?” His answer was quick and to the point.

“Well, why not? We are going to be exciting, and we are going to be exciting to watch,” Poppie said in response. “We are going to be a team that plays together. There is going to be some passion around here. It’s not about me, but I have an energy level, and it starts there and runs through to the end of your roster. It’s going to be a fun time to be a part of this program, and I think there is no better time than right now. Our arms are wide open for whoever wants to join, because it’s about to be a lot of fun.”

Poppie, the 2023-24 Southern Conference Coach of the Year, was named the head coach at Clemson last week. He was hired away from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he compiled a 48-18 record in his two seasons with the Mocs. This year, he had a 28-win season en route to Chattanooga’s second-consecutive Southern Conference championship.

Poppie also spent six seasons as an assistant and associate head coach at Virginia Tech, where he helped lead the Hokies’ turnaround to a top-ten national program. He also spent time as an assistant coach at Furman. He played his college basketball at Limestone and spent stints coaching at his alma mater, USC Upstate, and Furman.

Poppie said that when he was at Limestone, he would drive over to Clemson on college football Saturdays to watch from the upper deck, and he says that Clemson feels like home.

“I got to see how special this place was from afar, but now it's truly our home, and I look forward to restoring energy back into the women's basketball program,” he said. “I think with the resources in place, the administration and leadership, we got the foundation that we can be special here. I've had a front-row seat to this league for quite a number of years. I believe it's the best basketball conference in the country, top to bottom, especially with the new additions, and it's going to take a lot of work. I understand that, but we're ready for the challenge ahead.”

Poppie said he would not hesitate to use the transfer portal but is also not looking for a quick fix. He has bigger plans.

“I want to build a program here, something that is going to be special and one that you're proud of, one that we're recruiting talented young ladies who are willing to sacrifice for the betterment of us. That's how you win, and you win big,” he said. “With that said, a cornerstone of our program will be development. Again, I mentioned my time at Virginia Tech. My biggest mentor, Kenny Brooks, poured his heart and soul into me for a number of years, and we took over a program there very similar to what's here, so he referenced in his press conference at Virginia Tech, a sleeping giant, and I believe that's what we got sitting right here.

“We got one that's ready to compete with the best of anybody, but with that said, we got to develop, develop young people on and off the court. It starts with the relationships. A lot of people talk about it, but they don't want to be about it, but we will be about it.”

Poppie said he can’t wait to get rolling, but he can’t do it without the support of the Clemson faithful.

“We're ready for the challenge. We're going to need all the support we possibly can. I look forward to connecting with our alumni base. It's been a really, really neat reception for the amount of text and direct messages and emails I've got from alums, and I look forward to connecting with them,” Poppie said. “That's what makes this place special is the people. It did not take us long to realize that. Thank you so much for this opportunity, Graham. Again, we won't let you down. Stephanie, thanks so much for everything you've done with me and my family in the short time. It's good to see so many faces, and again, on the other side, I feel like all I've been asked is, what can we do to help? We hope to return that favor in the near future. It'll be a really special part of this Clemson family.”

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