CLEMSON, SC (FOX Carolina) Amanda Butler came to Clemson ready to defy the odds. One could say she's succeeded.
First time head coach of the Lady Tigers' basketball program, Butler has set new standards for what it means to play in the ACC, and it's showed.
The conference has named Butler as the ACC Coach of the Year, the first Clemson women's basketball coach to receive such honor since Jim Davis in 1994.
Last season, the Lady Tigers under-performed in conference play, with just a single win against ACC opponents. With Butler at their helm, the Tigers' have evolved a new style of up-tempo play that's improved their game tremendously.
The new style is treating them well. Not only are they averaging almost twenty points more than they did last season, their aggressive defense has taken them to No. 4 in the nation - first in the ACC - for steals.
Butler led the Lady Tigers to an 18-11 regular season, with a 9-7 conference record. It's a historical turnaround, one that only two ACC coaches have bettered: Katie Meier at Miami in 2011 and Kay Yow at NC State in 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.”
Clemson stands at No. 7 in the conference as they head into the ACC Tournament. With a number of firsts under their belt, the Lady Tigers are looking for their first postseason appearance since 2004 (WNIT) or 2002 (NCAA).
“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.”
Clemson will face off against Virginia Tech on Thursday in the second round of the ACC Tournament.