CLEMSON — Clemson basketball coach Oliver Purnell denied a report he planned to interview with Georgia at this weekend’s Final Four in Detroit.
“It’s funny and it’s crazy all at the same time,” Purnell said Thursday upon arriving in Detroit. “I have no intention of interviewing with anyone while I’m out here. But there’s a lot of buzz that goes around this time of year.”
Earlier in the day, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Georgia athletics director Damon Evans planned to interview Purnell as well as Miami’s Frank Haith.
Multiple sources were skeptical that Purnell, who turns 56 in May, would entertain leaving for Georgia. He rebuffed overtures from LSU last year and Arkansas two years ago.
The Tigers are coming off consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and will welcome the banner recruiting class of Purnell’s tenure, headlined by 6-foot-9 swingman Milton Jennings — a McDonald’s All-American — and 6-7 Devin Booker, younger brother of standout forward Trevor Booker.
Purnell makes $1 million annually, ranking him as the fifth-highest paid ACC coach among those whose figures are public record.
Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips recently said he and Purnell had agreed on a financial “enhancement” to the six-year contract Purnell signed last May.
That contract includes a supplemental retirement plan in which Purnell would forfeit $2.474 million Clemson has contributed to the plan if he accepts another job before April 29. Should he leave after that but before April 29, 2012, he forfeits $1.375 million. The total $2.474 million sum, plus Clemson’s annual contributions thereafter, becomes fully vested once his contract expires in 2014.
Purnell’s contract also contains a $500,000 buyout clause.
Georgia recently offered Missouri coach Mike Anderson a deal worth $2 million annually, according to ESPN, but Anderson agreed to an extension to remain with Missouri for $1.55 million per year.