April 19, 2001
New York, NY – Former Clemson All-America free safety Terry Kinard will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December. The announcement was made by Hall of Fame Chairman Jon Hanson on Thursday afternoon at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
Kinard, who played for the Tigers from 1978-82 and was named National Defensive Player of the Year by CBS Sports as a senior, will be just the second Clemson player in history to be honored by the College Football Hall of Fame, the first since Banks McFadden in 1959.
Kinard will be formally inducted during ceremonies in New York City in December, then will be honored in a ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, IN in August of 2002.
Ironically, Kinard burst on the national scene in South Bend in 1979. Starting as a freshman, Kinard had two fourth-quarter interceptions and seven tackles overall to lead Clemson to a 16-10 victory over the Irish. Now 22 years later, he will be inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame, which is located just two miles from Notre Dame Stadium.
“This is a dream come true,” said Kinard. “It is something you don’t expect, but when it does happen you are thrilled. It is a great honor when you consider that only one other Clemson player has been named to the Hall of Fame. To be alongside a great legend like Banks McFadden means a great deal.
“Clemson gave me the opportunity. I was very fortunate, I could not have picked a better place to go to school. I played with a lot of great players at Clemson, especially guys on our defense like Jeff Davis, Jeff Bryant and many others. I certainly could not have made it to the Hall of Fame without the great players we had at Clemson at that time.
“I also have to thank Coach (Danny) Ford and the other coaches. I especially have to thank Coach Willie Anderson, who recruited me. Years later he gave me the opportunity to go to Oklahoma and serve on his (high school) coaching staff. He impressed upon me the importance of finishing my degree, which I did. It has made a world of difference. I am sure it made a difference in me getting into the Hall of Fame. He cared about me many years after I left Clemson and it says a lot about him and the people at Clemson.”
A native of Sumter, SC, Kinard was a first-team Associated Press All-American in 1981 and 1982, the only two-time first-team AP All-American in school history. He was in fact a unanimous selection in 1982, the only unanimous first-team All-American in Clemson history.
Kinard recorded 17 interceptions during his Clemson career, still the high mark in school history and second in ACC history. He ranked in the top 15 in the nation in interceptions in 1981 and 1982 and was a major reason Clemson had a combined record of 21-1-1 over those two years. Clemson’s defense ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense each year. He was Clemson’s second leading tackler on the 1981 National Championship team and led the 1982 squad that finished eighth in the final Associated Press poll.
At the conclusion of his Clemson career, Kinard was chosen in the first round of the NFL draft by the New York Giants, the 10th overall pick of the draft. He played seven years for the Giants, including the team’s 1986 Super Bowl Championship season. Kinard was named to the NFL All-Rookie team in 1983 and the Pro Bowl in 1988.
Since his retirement from the game, Kinard was named to Sports Illustrated’s All-1980s team that was released in conjunction with the magazine’s All-20th Century team of college football. In 2000 he was named Clemson’s top player of the 20th Century by CNNsi.com. He was also chosen to the USA Today All-Decade team for the 1980s. In 1996 he was named to Clemson’s Centennial Team and received more votes than any other defensive player.
“Terry Kinard was a dominating player because he was a great tackler who also could break on the ball and make the interception,” said Danny Ford, who was Kinard’s Head Coach his entire career at Clemson. “I haven’t seen a player who could dominate a game from the secondary like he could. He covered a lot of ground, he made a coach feel secure about the secondary.
“He had the ability to be a dominant player from the time he was a freshman. You don’t see a lot of freshmen safeties take over a game in Notre Dame Stadium, but he did that when we defeated Notre Dame in 1979.
“When you look at what Terry Kinard accomplished individually at Clemson and what Clemson did as a team during his career, you can see that he is most qualified to be in the College Football Hall of Fame.”
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