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Clemson introduces Shawn Poppie as new head coach

Toby Corriston
Shawn Poppie spoke to the media earlier this week to express his excitement regarding his new position as the head coach of the women’s basketball team.

Shawn Poppie introduced himself to the Clemson community as the new women’s basketball coach at a press conference in Littlejohn Coliseum earlier this week. Over the past 49 years, the Clemson women’s basketball team has held a winning history, posting an overall record of 716-609, 16 NCAA Tournament appearances and 12 top 25 seasons. 

Recently, however, the Tigers have shown some inconsistencies. They failed to place higher than seventh overall in the ACC in any of the past six years and have not made an NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2018-19 season. With the addition of Poppie to the staff, the team hopes to return to its winning ways.

Clemson’s athletic director, Graham Neff, led off the introduction by stating that Clemson’s decision to hire Poppie aligns with the growth in women’s basketball in recent years. Neff also reinforced Clemson’s dedication to growing the sport, saying, “The ceiling is really, really high here.”

“We are bullish about Clemson women’s college basketball.” 

Bringing in an experienced and successful head coach like Poppie — who served as the assistant coach at Virginia Tech for six winning seasons before leading the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga to a Southern Conference Championship and an NCAA tournament appearance in his first year coaching during the 2022-23 season — is just the beginning for the team. 

“I am beyond excited and humbled to lead this team back to where it belongs,” Poppie said. “Clemson made taking this position a very easy decision for me and my family.”

Poppie emphasized that making Clemson women’s basketball a part of the rising interest and popularity worldwide is an effort that takes a community. He encouraged everyone on campus to continue to show their support and foster the undeniable sense of community Clemson has boasted for generations.

When asked about his approach to recruiting in year one, Poppie highlighted the appeal of being part of the Clemson community. He believes the opportunity to play in as special a community as Clemson’s will attract future players.

“When you’re around Clemson people, they bleed purple and orange, and they make sure to tell you about it.” 

Poppie has a clear idea of what success looks like heading into the Tigers’ 50th season.

“The goal is when people come and watch us and are around our program, you will feel the ‘it’ factor. It starts with creating relationships. It takes all of us. The wins will come.” 

Poppie closed out his introduction with words of encouragement to future audiences at Littlejohn, saying, “Our arms are wide open for all to join, and it’s going to be a lot of fun going into this first year.”

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Malone Kinard-Huisinger
Malone Kinard-Huisinger, Senior Reporter
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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