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Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

Nov. 17, 2004

Our upcoming RU Orange campaign is our initiative to capture Clemson’s good will and spirit throughout the state. It starts right here with the Athletic Department staff by wearing orange on Fridays and is our way of promoting the Solid Orange mindset.

We are working with our campus and our city whereby we emphasize to our people the campaign’s importance. We want Clemson people to show their spirit and pride in all of our venues by wearing orange.

Some people may say that is trite, but it is not a trite issue. Orange — with all of its brightness — is our color. It pops out at you when you see it. If people see a sea of orange — solid orange, if you will — it says something about how people feel about our university. We want to expand that from our campus, our city, our stadium and our coliseum to where people wear orange on Friday throughout the year – throughout the state.

I always appreciate turning on the television on Friday mornings, getting the weather report and Dale Gilbert has that orange tie on. I know what he’s doing. Other Clemson people should know what he’s doing.

It’s not that he woke up one morning and thought, “You know I have that good-looking orange tie I might wear”. He wears it every Friday because of the pride he has in being part of Clemson’s program.

That helps create an environment that says something to young people — whether they are an athlete or not — about the pride in Clemson.

That’s why the Solid Orange principle and mindset is so important. That’s why the RU Orange campaign will be conducted in an on-going way.

In some ways, the RU Orange campaign is asking, “Are you proud? Do you have spirit? Do you want to help us be the best we can be?”

The concept of this campaign is not new. Other schools have had color campaigns. Generally, though, other schools have used it as a gimmick. In those cases, it is confined to the campus and has a short life.

We want this to have a long life and become a tradition. It needs to be part of our folklore here. We want something no other university has and goes beyond the campus. We want something that will catch on with Clemson people throughout the state.

Even now on Friday nights throughout the upstate, you can see Clemson people wearing orange. Imagine the statement that makes to high school recruits when they see that consistently throughout the state.

Of course, we could stop right now with where we are. There are a lot of schools that would love to be where we are, if we stopped right now and never talked about it anymore.

But we can be the absolutely very best in America. It would be marvelous when we have campus events that are not athletic related where people wear their orange. We will know we have arrived when we have a concert at the Brooks Center and people walk in wearing orange.

The RU Orange campaign is about more than athletics, more than just one game. We want it to become a way of life.

One of the questions I am asked is, “If you are Solid Orange and the football team comes out in purple jerseys, does that not go against Solid Orange?” My response is “No, it doesn’t.”

The players like the configuration of orange pants and purple jersey with orange helmet. For whatever reason, they feel good about playing in that color scheme. If they feel good in that color scheme, then I’m for it.

That does not run counter to our Solid Orange efforts whatsoever.

As most probably know, Clemson’s colors are burnt orange and northwestern purple. Up until the 1959 Sugar Bowl game, Clemson had always primarily worn orange. In order to provide a sharper contrast for the nationwide television Broadcast for the Sugar Bowl, Clemson wore navy blue jerseys.

As it turns out, Clemson had an excellent chance to win that game. A costly mistake with the snap on a punt led to LSU’s only touchdown. And with the 7-0 victory over Clemson, LSU went on to win the National Championship that year.

That was the beginning of the evolution to the purple jerseys we have today. The purple jersey is part of our history. When our players put the purple on, it is part of our tradition and legacy.

Wearing purple as part of our uniform scheme is not going against Solid Orange. Given our history, we could have chosen purple as easily as we chose orange. But orange has always been our predominate color and always will be our predominate color, but that does not preclude wearing purple as part of our uniforms.

Orange captures your attention when you wear it. There’s a reason highway department people wear orange. There’s a reason people wear orange when hunting. You can see it better and it captures your attention and that is exactly what we want and need!!!!

Our goal is capture the attention of recruits coming into our stadium and the attention of people in this state as well as telling our teams that there is a sense of unity and pride in a great University. We can do it by wearing orange. RU ORANGE.

Terry Don Phillips

Past ColumnsNovember 10, 2004November 3, 2004October 26, 2004October 21, 2004October 11, 2004October 4, 2004

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