Dec. 10, 2002
There aren’t many ties between Clemson and Texas Tech over the years, but here are a few:
*Rodney Allison served as Clemson’s defensive ends coach from 1999 through the 2002 regular season. He played football for Texas Tech from 1974-77 and was the school’s starting quarterback in 1976 and 1977. He would have coached for Clemson vs. his alma mater had he not resigned his position on December 6 to become the head coach at UT Chattanooga.
*Allison was the quarterback for Texas Tech the last time they played in the Tangerine Bowl, a game played on December 23, 1977, the same day as he 2002 game. The team Texas Tech faced that night was Florida State, which was coached by Bobby Bowden, Tommy’s father. Florida State won the game 40-17. The coach of the Texas Tech team that night was Steve Sloan, who is now athletic director at UT Chattanooga and just hired Allison to be his head football coach.
*Current Clemson offensive line coach Ron West served as an assistant coach at Texas Tech from 1981-85. He served under Jerry Moore as offensive line coach from 1981-84 and as linebackers coach in 1985. He has been Clemson’s offensive line coach since 1999.
*Both teams in this bowl game have a star player named Aaron Hunt. Clemson’s Aaron Hunt is the team’s placekicker. The honorable mention All-American made 17-21 field goals this year and ranks 13th in the nation in field goal kicking. He is Clemson’s career leader in extra points made. Texas Tech’s Aaron Hunt is regarded as one of the top defensive linemen in the Big 12 Conference. He is the school’s all-time leader in sacks. Texas Tech’s Aaron Hunt wears #9 and Clemson’s Aaron Hunt wears #19.
*Current Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers served as the school’s head basketball coach from 1971-91 and coached against Clemson four times. Clemson won all four meetings, including two on field goals inside the last four seconds. Current Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight is 0-1 lifetime against Clemson, a 58-57 loss in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 29, 1980 ( the exact same score Clemson defeated Myers by in 1978). Knight was the head coach at Indiana at the time of Clemson’s victory in 1980 and the Hoosiers went on to win the national championship. It remains the only time Clemson has beaten the eventual national champion in basketball.
*Texas Tech linebacker coach Ruffin McNeill got his first college coaching job at Clemson in 1985. He served as a graduate assistant at Clemson in 1985 and 1986 under Danny Ford. Clemson went to bowl games both seasons and won the ACC championship in 1986. He earned a Masters from Clemson in the spring of 1987 before moving on to a fulltime job at Austin Peay.
*While Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden has not served as the head coach in a game against Texas Tech, one of his assistants has. Quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain was the head coach at NC State in 1993 when his Wolfpack team won in Lubbock, 36-34. Gary Downs caught an 11-yard pass from Robert Hinton with no time left to win the game. Ironically, O’Cain’s Wolfpack team was coming off a 20-14 loss at Clemson the week before.
*Clemson and Texas Tech are tied for 21st in NCAA history in bowl appearances. This will be the 26th bowl for each school.
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