July 26, 2001
Below are Todd Bramble’s answers to the selected questions that you submitted this past week to “Ask The Tigers”. ClemsonTigers.com would like to thank you for all of your questions submitted. We would also like to thank Todd for his time and sincere effort with “Ask The Tigers”.
Todd, How many recruits do you think you will bring into your program for the 2002-2003 school year?Cally Morrill Sarasota, FL
Cally, Thanks for keeping in touch with clemsontigers.com. Graduation will dictate that we bring in at least 6 new team members. We have a good problem on our hands in that many of the best players in the nation want to come to Clemson. What we have to determine is, what positions do we need to replace, how can we make it all work financially (unfortunately, very few players get a full scholarship), and most importantly, we spend a lot of time making sure we get talented student athletes who are of exemplary character.
Todd, What are the biggest differences you have seen from coaching boys to coaching girls?Tiger Fan Mayberry, NC
Thanks for being named “Tiger Fan.” Although I have been asked this question a lot lately, it is not easy to answer. I will tell you this, however, I love coaching women! One area I enjoy that is unique to coaching women is the levity that surrounds a typical practice session. Without sacrificing hard work and productivity, the girls seemed to genuinely enjoy our training sessions and games this spring. We made a tremendous amount of progress and the team was extremely receptive to some of the subtle changes I initiated. There is no question my personality is suited to coaching women. I can not imagine the transition going any more smoothly. No one wanted to transfer, none of the recruits changed their mind, and everyone is on the same page going into next fall.
Coach Bramble, What brought you back to Clemson after landing the job at Butler?Larry Nebins Walterboro, SC
Larry, I would have to say “fate.” It was the hardest decision of my life to leave Clemson in the first place. If it were not for my wife and Coach Adair, I would have turned down the job at Butler because I absolutely love everything about Clemson. I did not want to leave because I knew Trevor and the Leone’s would be here for a long time and once I was gone, that was it. However, to grow as a professional, I had to move on. Then, inexplicably, two things happened. First, Ray Leone surprised everyone by taking the job at ASU, and second, the administration inquired about my possible interest in interviewing for the job. The search committee was incredibly thorough and I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to lead one of the nations premier programs.
Coach Bramble, Will you feel a lot of pressure knowing that the Clemson Women’s Soccer has achieved so much in such a short period of time?Sandy McLane Danville, VA
Sandy, Thanks for the reminder!!!! Seriously though,… I realize that I am actually in a “no win” situation. If we do well this year, then I have done it with someone else’s players, and if we don’t do as well, then I will be perceived as a lesser coach than my predecessors. Either way, this is beyond my control and I am a big believer in staying focused on the things I CAN control. Pressure is an interesting concept for coaches. Although there is no REAL pressure from the administration, my team or my family, I take immense pride in trying to please all of these constituencies, and any pressure I feel will be self-imposed. In reality, if I felt like I could not, at minimum, keep the program going on the same successful path, I would not put the university/athletic department, the team, or my family in a position of having to deal with failure.
Todd, When the women’s soccer team knocked off North Carolina last season, that was a big step in the program at Clemson. What do you foresee being the next big step for the Clemson program?Jen Fuller Greenville, SC
Jen, There are only a few “big step’s” left for Clemson to take. One, would be to beat UNC on their home field. I imagine the Tarheels will be licking their chops to play us on Fetzer Field this fall. It should be a pretty simple pre-game speech for Coach Dorrance. Two, would be to win the ACC Tourney. Although Clemson won the ACC regular season title last season, the tournament is a different animal. And third would be to advance to the final four and be able to compete for the national championship. Although that sounds like a lot (and it is) there are many schools who will never accomplish some of the things that Clemson already has, and these are things we will never take for granted. Tracy and Ray Leone built an incredible foundation for this program in only seven years.
Todd, During your short time here with the women’s program, who has impressed you the most on the field?Tammy Smith Chicago, IL
Tammy, this answer might surprise a lot of people because she gets very little notoriety, and is difficult because there are so many talented players on the team, but since you asked…..Allison Mitchell. We obviously have great attacking players in Deliah Arrington, Lindsay Browne and Heather Beem. We have great goal keeping in Katie Carson and as with most team sports, it is the goal-scorers and goal-stoppers who accumulate tangible statistics and easily garner recognition. Allison Mitchell, however, is our unsung heroine. Athletically, she is one of our strongest and fittest. On the field, she handles a tremendous amount of responsibility both offensively and defensively. And what I am most excited about is we have her for three more years!!
Todd, What do you see as the biggest benefit of playing an out of conference schedule that consists of UCLA and Florida?Jen Best Charlotte, NC
Jen, I cannot rank what the “biggest” benefit would be, but I will give you three areas of my rationale. One is simply the old adage that if you want to be the best, you must play the best. We are fortunate to be in the best conference in the country, but it is good to play some of the best teams in the nation early in the season to get our team “conference ready.” Two, is for recruiting. It is easier to convince the best players in the country who have ambitions of going on the play in the WUSA and for the National Team that it will enhance their development if, in addition to, our tough conference schedule, they will be able to play the likes of UCLA and Florida. And three, as a coach I want to play the best teams whenever possible. Remember, I have to watch the games too. To give you a sneak preview into the future, and what I am talking about, early in the 2002 schedule I have the Lady Tiger’s playing Portland and Santa Clara in Notre Dame’s Tournament.
Coach Bramble, What advice would you give a young player who would like to play at Clemson or anywhere at the Division I level?Stacy Keen Macon, GA
Stacy, There are actually two questions you have asked. The reason I say this is there are nearly 280 Division I schools and Clemson happens to be one of the top programs in the nation. There are many Division II and even III schools that actually play better soccer than some of the bottom Division I schools, so don’t get too hung up on D. I, II or III. It is more important for you to focus on things like what you are looking for, ie…academically, geographically, enrollment, etc…. After you have narrowed it down for those type reasons, then you need to decide what your soccer aspirations are. Some students want to go to the best program possible with the hope that they will have a chance to contribute at some point in their career. Others want to go to a school where they know they can start as a freshman and play simply for the love of the game. Best of luck with your decision.
Todd, When talking to a prospect, what do you think is Clemson’s best selling point?Walter Bussin Dallas, TX
Walter, WOW, toughest question of all! I love Clemson so much it is hard to pinpoint what our “best” selling point is because with each prospect the attraction is situational based on what they are looking for in their college experience. I do tell everyone, however, as I have been here for six years now, that Clemson has managed to hold on to a special feeling of school pride and a family atmosphere that many universities have lost in this day and age. I truly believe that it is unique, special, and can only be felt when you visit and/or are a part of the community. The accomplishments of the athletic department speak for itself and with each passing year, the academic reputation of the university continues to grow as evidenced by our recent recognition from Time Magazine as the nations Top Public University. I have yet to encounter a student athlete who has regretted their decision to attend Clemson and I think that is the strongest evidence I can provide that Clemson is a great place to spend your college career.
Next week’s guest on “Ask The Tigers” will be Joey Batson, Clemson’s Strength Training Director.
May 21, 2019