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How did Clemson softball get so good, so quickly? I traveled there to find out.

Building an immediate contender isn't just add water

Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.

We’re about two weeks away from the College Softball Selection Show, and the Clemson Tigers are in a pretty good place.

A late April three-game losing streak took some of the shine off an excellent regular season, the Tigers know they’re comfortably in the tournament field. They’re just outside the Top Ten in the latest Softball America Top 25, they have a gaudy 45-8 regular season record, and with the ACC Tournament ahead of them, they’re right in the mix to host a Regional.

That’s the standard for this program. They’ve won at least 40 games and made the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons. Last year, they even made it to a Super Regional before falling to Oklahoma State.

Here’s the thing though. Clemson softball isn’t some storied program, built on decades of tradition. The team played its first season in 2020. This is, in some ways, still kind of an expansion team. And they’re kicking ass.

How did this team get so good, so quickly? And is there anything in this blueprint that could be replicated elsewhere, or for other sports?

I drove down to Clemson to try and find out.

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