Oliver Purnell

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Oliver Purnell
Oliver Purnell.jpg
Purnell as Clemson coach in 2007
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team DePaul
Record 30–64 (.319)
Biographical details
Born (1953-05-19) May 19, 1953 (age 61)
Berlin, Maryland
Playing career
1972–1975 Old Dominion
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1975–1977
1977–1985
1985–1988
1988–1991
1991–1994
1994–2003
2003–2010
2010–present
Old Dominion (GA)
Old Dominion (asst.)
Maryland (asst.)
Radford
Old Dominion
Dayton
Clemson
DePaul
Head coaching record
Overall 436–358 (.549)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
1 CAA Tournament Championship (1992)
2 CAA Regular Season Championship (1993, 1994)
Awards
1 A-10 Coach of the Year (1998)
1 CAA Coach of the Year (1993)
1 Big South Coach of the Year (1991)

Oliver Purnell (born May 19, 1953) is an American college basketball coach. He is currently the head coach at DePaul University. Purnell previously served as the head coach for Clemson University, the University of Dayton, Old Dominion University, and Radford University.

Early years[edit]

Purnell was born in Berlin, Maryland, the second of Oliver Sr. and Phyllis' four children. He attended Stephen Decatur High School, where he played on the boys' basketball team that captured the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Class B championship in 1970.[1][2] Purnell was recruited to play basketball at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. While at Old Dominion, Purnell enjoyed a highly successful playing career, finishing 18th on ODU's all time scoring list with 1,090 points and leading the Monarchs to the 1975 NCAA Division II national championship.[3] That year, Purnell was selected by Converse as an honorable mention Division II All-American.

Purnell averaged 14.4 points a game his senior year and 13.8 as a junior. He scored 25 points against Randolph-Macon in the NCAA South Atlantic Regional Championship game in 1975. As a junior, he averaged 6.7 assists per game and tallied 181 for the season. He was accorded the team MVP honors his senior year.

Purnell also dished out 474 career assists, which placed him sixth on the school's all-time list. He still shares ODU's single game steal record with eight against Washington and Lee in 1975.

Purnell was drafted in the sixth round of the 1975 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.[4]

Purnell was inducted into the Stephen Decatur High School Hall of Fame on September 19, 2008. He was inducted into the ODU Sports Hall of Fame in April 1988.

Coaching career[edit]

Purnell became a graduate assistant coach at ODU in July 1975, eventually becoming a full-time assistant at the university. During Purnell's tenure as a full-time assistant, he helped ODU reach the postseason seven times (3 NCAAs and 4 NITs).[4] Lefty Driesell hired Purnell in 1985 to serve as an assistant on his Maryland staff. Purnell served three seasons at Maryland before being selected as head coach at Radford University. Purnell is credited with one of the biggest one year turnarounds in NCAA history as his 1990-91 Radford club posted a 22-7 record, a 15 game improvement over the previous season.[4] In 1991, he returned to Old Dominion to take the head coaching position. After another successful stint, in 1994, he accepted a position as head coach at the University of Dayton where he led the Flyers to two NCAA tournament appearances (2000, 2003) before accepting the head coaching job at Clemson University shortly after the #4 seeded Flyers lost to #13 Tulsa in the first round of the 2003 NCAA tournament. Purnell was the head coach of the 1999 USA World University Team and led the squad to an 8-0 record and the Gold Medal in Brisbane, Australia. He was the recipient of USA Basketball's 1999 Developmental Coach of the Year Award for that accomplishment.[5] He was selected to the Board of Directors at the 1998 convention for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). In 2000, he was appointed by the NABC to serve as a member of USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee. That committee is responsible for the selection of collegiate coaches and players for USA Basketball's teams.[5]

During his tenure at Clemson, he built the program steadily, improving each subsequent season. He served as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 2006–07.[6] At the conclusion of that season, Purnell took his team to the championship game of the NIT, losing to West Virginia in the final, following wins against Syracuse, Air Force, and Ole Miss. In 2008, he guided the Tigers to a third-place 10–6 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a runner-up position in the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, losing to North Carolina by 5 points. The 2007–08 season marked Clemson's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in ten years. However, Purnell has been unable to win an NCAA tournament game (0–6) during his stints with Dayton and Clemson.

On March 18, 2008, Clemson extended Purnell's contract through 2014 and raised his salary.[7]

On April 6, 2010, Purnell was given a 7-year deal by DePaul University.[8]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Radford (Big South Conference) (1988–1991)
1988–89 Radford 15–13 5–7 T–5th
1989–90 Radford 7–22 3–9 7th
1990–91 Radford 22–7 12–2 2nd
Radford: 44–42 (.512) 20–18 (.526)
Old Dominion (Colonial Athletic Association) (1991–1994)
1991–92 Old Dominion 15–15 8–6 T–3rd NCAA First Round
1992–93 Old Dominion 21–8 11–3 T–1st NIT Second Round
1993–94 Old Dominion 21–10 10–4 T–1st NIT Second Round
Old Dominion: 57–33 (.633) 29–13 (.690)
Dayton (Great Midwest Conference) (1994–1995)
1994–95 Dayton 7–20 0–12 7th
Dayton (Atlantic 10 Conference) (1995–2003)
1995–96 Dayton 15–14 6–10 4th–West
1996–97 Dayton 13–14 6–10 4th–West
1997-98 Dayton 21–12 11–5 3rd–West NIT Second Round
1998-99 Dayton 11–17 5–11 5th–West
1999–00 Dayton 22–9 11–5 1st–West NCAA First Round
2000–01 Dayton 21–13 9–7 6th NIT Quarterfinals
2001–02 Dayton 21–11 10–6 3rd–West NIT First Round
2002–03 Dayton 24–6 14–2 2nd–West NCAA First Round
Dayton: 155–116 (.572) 72–68 (.514)
Clemson (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2003–2010)
2003–04 Clemson 10–18 3–13 9th
2004–05 Clemson 16–16 5–11 9th NIT First Round
2005–06 Clemson 19–15 7–9 9th NIT Second Round
2006–07 Clemson 25–11 7–9 T–8th NIT Runner-up
2007–08 Clemson 24–10 10–6 3rd NCAA First Round
2008–09 Clemson 23–9 9–7 T–5th NCAA First Round
2009–10 Clemson 21–11 9–7 T–5th NCAA First Round
Clemson: 138–90 (.605) 50–62 (.446)
DePaul (Big East Conference) (2010–2013)
2010-11 DePaul 7–24 1–17 16th
2011-12 DePaul 12–19 3–15 16th
2012-13 DePaul 11–21 2–16 15th
DePaul (Big East Conference) (2013–present)
2013-14 DePaul 12–21 3–15 10th
DePaul: 42–77 (.353) 9–57 (.136)
Total: 436–358 (.549)

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

References[edit]

External links[edit]