First-year athletics director Dan Radakovich says he’s ready to help all Clemson programs succeed, not just football.
The Tigers’ football program has taken off in recent years, in part because of improvements to facilities such as the WestZone project at Death Valley and an indoor practice building christened in December.
“There’s some opportunity here as it relates to continuing to build the infrastructure of the program, as it relates to facilities,” Radakovich said.
Radakovich believes it’s no coincidence the Tigers’ rise in going 21-6 the past two years came after several upgrades were completed. Now, Radakovich wants other teams, such as basketball and baseball, to enjoy the same advantages that come from having top-level facilities.
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“It opens the doors for people to consider that if we did this at other facilities we might be able to see some similar success,” he said.
Chief among that is basketball, where both the men’s and women’s programs have struggled in recent years to hold on to past success. Clemson has worked the past 15 years at keeping Littlejohn Coliseum modern and useful, however the Atlantic Coast Conference is adding four high-quality schools — Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Louisville — the next two years that have top-flight basketball programs and could threaten to move the Tigers farther down in a super-sized ACC.
Radakovich, who took over in December, has worked since then on whether it’s better to renovate Littlejohn or construct a new facility
“I think we’re getting real close on a recommendation to the Board of Trustees about where we want to go,” Radakovich said.
While Georgia Tech athletics director, Radakovich oversaw a $45 million renovation to Alexander Memorial Coliseum, renamed the McCamish Pavilion when it reopened last fall. Radakovich and men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell both have basketball arena studies in their offices, although neither is ready to speculate on what direction the school might take.
Brownell said he has talked with football coach Dabo Swinney about what the improvements have meant to football.
“I don’t think we’ve done the same thing in basketball, and I think everybody realizes, ‘Hey, it’s time.’ ”
Radakovich isn’t just locked onto basketball. Clemson’s baseball field at Doug Kingsmore Stadium has been taken up to improve the surface, fix some low spots in the outfield and move home plate about 10 feet closer, something baseball coach Jack Leggett thinks will help hitters. The construction will also add about 100 luxury seats behind home plate.
Radakovich hopes he can effect similar change for other programs when need arises.