GREENSBORO, N.C. – Following one of the most remarkable turnarounds in ACC history, Clemson women’s basketball head coach Amanda Butler has been named the ACC Coach of the Year. Butler is the first Clemson women’s basketball coach to receive this honor since Jim Davis in 1994.
The Tigers are in the midst of a historic season, sitting at 19-11 with a 9-7 mark in conference play. Finishing the regular season as the No. 7 team in the conference, Clemson finished eight spots ahead of where the team was predicted to finish (15) in the preseason poll. That number ties the 2014-15 Pittsburgh team for the highest finish ahead of prediction in ACC history.
In her first season as head coach, Butler has coached the Tigers to nine ACC wins, eight victories over last year’s mark; the largest turnaround in wins by a first-year head coach in ACC history. Only two ACC coaches have manufactured better turnarounds: Katie Meier in her sixth year at Miami (eight wins, 2011) and Kay Yow in her 14th year at NC State (nine wins, 1989).
“I’m so proud of the work that Amanda and her staff have done revitalizing Clemson Women’s basketball,” said Dan Radakovich, Clemson Director of Athletics. “This honor is well-deserved for an amazing turnaround this season.”
Bringing in just two players of her own, Butler quickly identified a gritty style of play that would highlight the talent and skill sets of the players on the current roster. Playing an up-tempo style of basketball, the Tigers are averaging almost 20 points more than they did a season ago (50.5 to 68.7). With an emphasis on aggressive defense, Clemson ranks fourth in the nation (first in ACC) in total steals (345).
Butler’s first year at the helm has been highlighted by many firsts for Clemson. The Tigers tallied their first victory over a ranked opponent since 2012 after downing rv/23 Miami, 76-67 on Jan. 10. Just three days later, Clemson pulled off another upset, defeating 22/18 Florida State, 57-45, marking the first time in program history that the Tigers posted back-to-back road wins over ranked opponents.
“I’m grateful to each and every person that brought me to this point, from our tremendous administration to my fantastic coaching staff to our dedicated players and the rest of the Clemson family,” said Butler. “I’m so humbled to have had all of this support as we have journeyed through this incredible season.”
At 18-11, and on the verge of the ACC Tournament, the Tigers are eying their first postseason appearance since 2004 (WNIT) or 2002 (NCAA). Clemson squares off with either Virginia Tech or Wake Forest on Thursday in the second round of the ACC Tourname