Clemson fans were shocked when they found out early Tuesday morning that head basketball coach Oliver Purnell would be leaving to take the job at Depaul. Though it wasn't as shocking that Purnell left as it was where he left to go. Clemson fans always knew there was the potential for Purnell to be lured away, but they always assumed it would be a successful program that snagged their headman.
Sure Depaul has a great basketball tradition, but that doesn't mean much when your team has won just one conference game in the past two years. I know Purnell loves reclamation projects, but even Clemson wasn't that bad prior to him taking over. Maybe Purnell feels that he can rebuild a program, but can't take them any further than that. Or maybe it's all about the money. Or maybe it was the lack of student support during conference play, or the distraught fans after Purnell lost his third straight NCAA Tournament first round game. Who knows? And, frankly, who cares?
Of course, Clemson fans will miss Oliver Purnell, but, right now, they should be concerned about the immediate future of the program. Who will Terry Don Phillips hire? Will he actually step up and go get a big name coach?
And what about the players? The upperclassmen (Stitt, Grant, Young, etc.) probably will not consider transferring, but how about the rising sophomores (Johnson, Booker, Jennings, and Hill)? We are already hearing rumblings about dissatisfaction with playing time. Could this prompt these players to leave?
Clemson's lone recruit, Marcus Thornton, is reportedly asking out of his commitment to Clemson, and top JuCo player Ricardo Ratliffe has dropped Clemson from his list. Will there even be a 2010 recruiting class at Clemson?
These questions all hinge on when, and more importantly, who Clemson hires as its next coach. But the clock is ticking, and Clemson's hiring history does not make fans any more confident about the future of this program.