Top 125 Players
Top 10 Games
BY: TIM BOURRET
Happy birthday, Memorial Stadium! Seventy-eight years ago today (Sept. 19, 1942), Clemson opened the gates of Memorial Stadium (not known as “Death Valley” until the late 1940s) for a season-opening game against Presbyterian College.
There was considerable work accomplished leading up to that game, and most of it was supervised by Head Coach Frank Howard. Can you imagine Dabo Swinney supervising that project today?
BY: AL ADAMS
A few years ago, Tim Bourret asked me what I remembered about Marion Reeves, Clemson’s first African-American football student-athlete. I was a student assistant in the sports information office under Bob Bradley when Reeves played for the Tigers (1970-73).
I told Bourret I remembered Reeves as a good football player who was a great guy. We all enjoyed watching him play, especially the two big interceptions he had in Columbia in the 1971 win over a heavily-favored South Carolina squad.
This is the 125th season of Clemson football so I thought it would be a good year to author a weekly article about the history of the game in Tigertown. The articles will range from articles about key events in history to top 10 lists of important plays.
This week’s article is a chronological rundown of the top 10 special teams plays of the first 125 years of Clemson football.
On many occasions during my time as Clemson’s sports information director, I received a call or two from a producer who was working on the opening of his broadcast for the Tiger football game the following weekend.
Many times, one of the questions would be, “Where can I find video of Brent Musburger calling your stadium entrance, ‘the most exciting 25 seconds in college football?’
You can point to many key moments in the first six years of the Dabo Swinney era that have led to the unparalleled success of the last five years. However, the most important play in the most important victory of the first half of the Swinney era did not result in a touchdown. In fact, it did not even bring the ball to within 50 years of the endzone.
While the two national championships in 2016 and 2018 have been great benchmarks in Clemson football history, in many ways, the Tigers’ 1981 national title stands alone.
Any time you do something for the first time, that breakthrough season is examined with incredible importance, because you showed future teams and generations that “it can be done at Clemson.”
One of the most striking examples of “the simpler times” of college football took place in January 1940, when Frank Howard was hired as Clemson’s head football coach and athletic director. Jess Neely had just resigned to move to Houston, Texas to become the head coach at Rice.
Neely made his decision after Clemson defeated Frank Leahy’s Boston College team by a score of 6-3 in the 1940 Cotton Bowl, the program’s first bowl game and first top-20 season.