May 5, 2006
Clemson basketball Head Coach Oliver Purnell and Assistant Coach Frank Smith were recently honored as members of the 15-person all-time basketball squad at Old Dominion University. The team was put together to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the university.
Purnell led the Monarchs to postseason play as a student-athlete and as the school’s head coach. He served as team captain and was the team’s leading scorer when he led the school to the 1975 NCAA Division II National Championship. Then, in 1991, Purnell guided Old Dominion to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Purnell, who took ODU to postseason play each of his three seasons as head coach, scored 1,090 points and recorded 476 assists as a player. He still holds the single-game steals mark with eight versus Washington and Lee.
Smith was named an honorable mention All-American by the Sporting News in 1988 and still ranks among the top 20 all-time Division I leaders in career assists. He totaled 883 for his career, an average of 7.4 per game. Smith also averaged 2.5 steals per game over his career, ranking in the nation’s top ten three straight years. He is still ODU’s all-time leader with 295 career steals.
The two have coached together at Clemson for the last three seasons and 16 seasons together overall. During that time, the two have guided four schools (Radford, Old Dominion, Dayton, Clemson) to a combined record of 279-215 (.565).
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