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2003-04 Year In Review

2003-04 Year In Review

June 28, 2004

  • Clemson had another outstanding all-around sports program for the 2003-04 academic year. Ten of the 11 teams that compete in dual meet formats had a winning record, including eight teams that had a winning percentage of 60 percent or better. Three programs (golf, men’s track, women’s tennis) won ACC Championships, and five programs (golf, women’s soccer, football, men’s tennis and women’s tennis) had top 25 final rankings. Clemson’s teams competed at a high level as nine of 11 the different sports that compete in a dual meet format had at least one win over a top 25 team. That list was led by the baseball team, who had nine top 25 wins. That program had five wins over teams that reached the Final Four of the College World Series. The women’s tennis team had a school record seven top 25 victories during the season. The overall program had 34 top 25 victories in 2003-04.
  • Clemson was very successful against its state rival South Carolina. Clemson had a 12-3 record in head to head matches, meets or games, including a perfect 6-0 mark in women’s sports. Two of the losses were in baseball, but Clemson also had two victories in that sport against the Gamecocks. Nine of the 11 sports that play head to head with Carolina had a winning victory margin during the year.
  • The performance of the Clemson tennis programs was certainly a highlight in 2003-04. Both programs reached at least the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and both teams posted 26 victories. It was the high victory total for each program since the spring of 1986. Clemson was one of three schools to have both its men’s and women’s programs in at least the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. The Lady Tigers reached the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament, the first women’s sports program in the school’s history to reach the Final Four.
  • There were many noteworthy individual accomplishments in 2003-04. Seventeen Clemson student-athletes were named first, second or third team All-American in 11 different sports. That list was led by first-team All-America women’s tennis player Julie Coin, who reached the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament was named the ACC Player of the Year. Gisele Oliveira was an All-American on the track and in the classroom. She became the 15th student-athlete in school history in any sport to perform the athletic-academic double in the same year. Overall, five student-athletes were named Academic All-American or Academic All-District.
  • You can make a case that the April 16-18, 2004 weekend was the most successful in school history. Between those dates Clemson won Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in men’s outdoor track, men’s golf and women’s tennis. Additionally, the men’s tennis team reached the finals of the ACC Tournament by upsetting the number-one seed (North Carolina), and the baseball team took two out of three on the road against a top 10 North Carolina team. This marked the first time since the 1996-97 academic year that Clemson won three ACC titles in the same weekend. That year, Clemson won the ACC title in men’s tennis, men’s outdoor track and men’s golf on the same weekend in April. That is the only other time Clemson has won three ACC championships in the same weekend. But, that April weekend in 1997, the Clemson baseball team was swept at NC State, making the 2004 weekend more successful overall.
  • Clemson student-athletes earned a record 2.90 overall GPA, and a record 44 student-athletes were named to the President’s List (4.0 GPA) for the spring semester of 2004. A record 116 student-athletes were named to the Dean’s List, the sixth straight semester at least 100 student-athletes were named to the Dean’s List (3.5 or better).

The 2.90 overall GPA broke the record of 2.85 set by the student-athletes of the spring semester of 2002. Seven athletic programs eclipsed the 3.0 mark, tied for the second highest semester on Clemson, and three programs, women’s soccer, men’s swimming and volleyball, established single semester team GPA records.

Leading the way was the Clemson women’s soccer team. Coach Todd Bramble’s team had a 3.57 team GPA, the second highest semester GPA of any Clemson athletic team on record. It was just short of the all-time team record of 3.64 achieved by the women’s tennis program in the spring of 1995. Bramble’s team had a women’s soccer program record 23 Lady Tigers on the academic honor roll, including 17 who made the dean’s list, eight with a perfect 4.0.

Clemson’s football program posted a 2.52 for the semester, the third highest semester on record. All three of the program’s 2.5 or better semesters on record have come under Tommy Bowden. Both Clemson swimming programs earned at least a 3.0 for the third straight semester. Christopher Ip’s men’s team had a 3.26 for the semester, highest on record for that program and the second highest on record for any Clemson men’s sport.

Seven programs earned a 3.0 or better as a team. In addition to the aforementioned swimming and soccer programs, the rowing (3.28), volleyball (3.23) and women’s tennis (3.14) teams all exceeded the 3.0 mark. The rowing team has now had a 3.0 or better team GPA in all 12 of its semesters of existence.

Nancy Harris’s women’s tennis program showed the best combination of achievement in the classroom and on the court of competition. Six of her student-athletes had a 3.0 or better, including All-America singles player Julie Coin. The team reached the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in Athens, the first Clemson women’s sports program to reach the Final Four of a team tournament.

2003-04 All Sports Summaries

Football -The Clemson football team finished the 2003 season ranked 22nd in the final Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coach’s polls after posting victories in its final four games, including two over top 10 teams. The Tigers, who finished 9-4, defeated third-ranked Florida State 26-10 on November 8, the highest ranked team Clemson has ever beaten in football. The team’s second top 10 win came over #6 Tennessee on January 2 in the 2004 Peach Bowl by a score of 27-14. That was the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in a bowl game since 1981. Clemson had three top 25 wins overall, including an overtime win against Virginia. It was the first time since 1989 that Clemson had three top 25 wins in the same year.

The Tigers set a plethora of records during the season, individually and as a team. Aaron Hunt became the school’s career scoring leader with 329 points and Charlie Whitehurst established 33 school records. Defensively, the team ranked 20th in the country in scoring defense with a 19.2 average, led by first-team All-ACC linebacker Leroy Hill who had a breakout year with 27 tackles for loss, second most in the nation. The Tigers were also ranked second in the nation and first in the ACC in kickoff returns, largely due to the efforts of Derrick Hamilton. The junior’s 1,735 yards led the ACC for the second straight year and he left Clemson with the career marks for all-purpose running and total receptions.

On an academic note, wide receiver Tony Elliot was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team and was awarded a 2004 Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship for his performance in the classroom as well as on the field. Head Coach Tommy Bowden also collected honors, as he was named ACC Coach of the Year for the second time in his five-year tenure at Clemson and was a finalist for the Bear Bryant Award.

Men’s Soccer – Men’s Soccer Head Coach Trevor Adair recorded his 150th career victory when the team defeated Richmond 1-0 to open the 2003 season on August 29. He enters the 2004 season with 158 total wins, including a victory over sixth ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill last season. The Tigers upset the Tar Heels 1-0 on a first half goal by All-ACC player Charlie Roberts. Senior Kenneth Cutler had three goals and three assists for Clemson in 2003 and was named to the first-team All-ACC. He was also a National Soccer Coaches Athletic Association third-team All-South selection, along with senior defender Chase Hilgenbrinck. The NSCAA also rewarded Clemson’s efforts in the classroom with a Team Academic Award. The men’s soccer program posted a 3.11 for the semester, and had 15 student-athletes on the academic honor roll in the spring.

Women’s Soccer – Todd Bramble’s women’s soccer team received four All-ACC selections in the 2003 season. Allison Graham earned first-team honors and was also a National Soccer Coaches Athletic Association All-Southeast Region selection. Courtney Foster earned second-team All-ACC and second-team NSCAA All-Southeast Region honors. Her 13 goals ranked third in the ACC, as she earned Soccer America Freshman All-American honors. Paige Ledford was also named second-team All-ACC and was a third-team all-region selection after scoring two goals and assisting five others. Allison Mitchell earned the Lady Tigers’ fourth All-ACC honor with a second-team selection. The ACC also awarded her with a 2004 Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship for her performance in the classroom and on the playing field, as well as her involvement in the community. As a team, Clemson had notable wins over fifth-ranked Virginia on November 1 and #9 Duke on October 24. The program received an NCAA Tournament bid for the 10th straight year, and had a #17 final ranking by Soccer America, the 10th straight year at least one poll has ranked the Lady Tigers in the final top 25.

Volleyball – The 2003 Tiger Volleyball team had two players named to All-ACC teams and advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. Leslie Finn was named first-team All-ACC and first-team AVCA All-East Region after recording 568 kills and leading the league with a 4.39 kills per game average. The junior’s 31 kills against Maryland on October 31 are third most in the Clemson record books for kills in a match. Junior Lori Ashton also earned an all-region honors with an honorable mention and Liz Beckham was named ACC All-Freshman.

Men’s Swimming and Diving – The Clemson Men’s Swimming and Diving team established a school record for victories in a season with its 13-2-1 record. That included a school record 9-0-1 mark away from home. Mark Henly’s 15th place finish in the 200-meter back earned him an All-America Honorable Mention and helped earned the Tigers a tie for 35th place in the country. He was also an All-ACC selection after winning the 200m back in a school record time. Eric Shulick won the one-meter diving competition at the ACC Championships, and he set a Clemson record in the event at the NCAA Zone B Diving Regional. The team was also named an Academic All-America team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, led by Tommy Rappold’s selection to the 2004 Academic All-America Men’s At-Large second-team for his 4.0 G.P.R. in computer information systems.

Women’s Swimming and Diving -The 10 victories recorded by the Clemson women’s swimming and diving team were the most by a Lady Tigers team since the 1988 season. The team was represented by two swimmers at the 2004 NCAA Championships and finished in a tie for 39th place in the country. Senior Kim Cober finished 37th overall in the 1500m free and Kim Routh placed 15th in the same event for Honorable Mention All-America honors. Diver Jessica Watcke also set a Clemson record in the one-meter diving competition on October 13 against South Carolina. Second-year Head Coach Chris Ip’s team was named an Academic All-America team for 2004 by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.

Men’s Basketball – First-year Head Coach Oliver Purnell led the Clemson men’s basketball team to victories over two teams ranked in the top 15 during the 2003-04 season. Clemson defeated 12th-ranked North Carolina at home on January 31 thanks to an 11-13 shooting performance from behind the three-point line. The feat set a school record for three-point field goal percentage and is sixth best in NCAA history. The mark was also the best performance by any team in the nation for 2003-04. The Tigers played their most difficult schedule in school history but managed to post wins over four teams – North Carolina, N.C. State, East Tennessee State and Boston College – that received bids to the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Clemson’s strength of schedule was ranked second hardest in the country by the Sagarin ratings and the RPI listed it as sixth. The Tigers were led in both scoring and rebounding by junior Sharrod Ford. He ranked second in the ACC in blocked shots and sixth in rebounding and was an honorable mention All-ACC Defensive team selection.

Women’s Basketball -The Clemson women’s basketball team had four landmark victories during the 2003-04 season. Clemson opened with a thrilling overtime victory over South Carolina, then defeated 15th ranked Rutgers the following week. The Lady Tigers won the program’s 550th overall game with an 87-75 victory over Western Kentucky on December 13 and defeated Coastal Carolina 84-65 on December 29 to record the team’s 300th victory in Littlejohn Coliseum. Head Coach Jim Davis guided the Lady Tigers to a16th postseason appearance in the last 17 years with a birth in the 2004 Women’s National Invitational Tournament. Senior Lakeia Stokes led the team with first-team All-ACC and Region 2 WBCA/Kodak All-America honors. She was third overall in the conference voting and ranked among the top 10 in five different statistical categories, the only player in the ACC to do so. Kanetra Queen received a 2004 Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship, given to student-athletes who show outstanding achievements in their respective sports as well as in the classroom and in the community.

Men’s Tennis -The men’s tennis team finished the 2004 season with a 26-12 overall record, the most wins during a season since 1986. Clemson was the runner-up in the ACC Tournament and the team received its 21st invitation to the NCAA Tournament under Head Coach Chuck Kriese, where they reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 1986. The key victory during the NCAA run was a second round win at sixth ranked Duke by a 4-3 score. Clemson also defeated a top 10 TCU team at the NCAA Tournament in Tulsa, OK. The doubles team of Jarmaine Jenkins and Nathan Thompson defeated three top 25-ranked teams, including the #1 team in the country from Rice, en route to the semifinals of the NCAA Doubles Tournament. The duo earned All-America honors for their performance in the tournament and were also named to the 2004 All-ACC team.

Women’s Tennis – The 2004 Clemson women’s tennis season could be considered the best ever by a Clemson women’s team as they were the first in school history to reach the final four in any NCAA Tournament in any sport. The team’s number-five final national ranking was also the highest in the history of the women’s tennis program. The team won the ACC regular season and tournament titles after going undefeated in conference matches (8-0). Maria Brito, Daniela Alvarez and Julie Coin earned All-ACC honors and Coin was the Player of the Year. In the NCAA Singles Tournament, Coin advanced to the semifinals before falling to the eventual champion from Stanford. Coin posted upsets over the #2 and #8 seeded players en route to her All-America performance. The native of France completed the season with a 32-9 overall record and her 35 victories in doubles play set a Clemson record for doubles wins in a season. Teamed with Brito, Coin reached the Round of 16 in the 2004 NCAA Doubles Tournament and won the 2003-04 ITA Southeast Region Doubles Championship. The pair is the first doubles team in Clemson history to claim the title.

Baseball -Head Coach Jack Leggett recorded his 500th win at Clemson when the Tigers defeated N.C. State 9-6 on April 25. Clemson reached the NCAA Tournament for the 18th consecutive year. The team narrowly missed a trip to the Super Regional when it lost to host Georgia by one run in 10 innings in the final game. Clemson had overcome a seven-run deficit in the first game against the Bulldogs, the greatest comeback by a Clemson baseball team in an NCAA Tournament game since 1958.

Sophomore Kris Harvey was a first-team All-ACC selection. The versatile player hit .335 for the season and was undefeated as a pitcher with a 6-0 record. Brad McCann finished with a team-leading .379 batting average, 16 homeruns and 65 runs batted in and was named a third-team All-American. The junior third baseman was also a semi-finalist for the Dick Howser and Golden Spikes awards, given to the best player in college baseball. Lou Santangelo had 18 home runs to lead the Tigers, while Patrick Hogan became the third pitcher in Clemson history to record at least 10 saves in one year. A record nine Tigers were selected in the 2004 Major League Baseball draft, led by junior left-hander Tyler Lumsden, the 34th overall pick.

Rowing – The Clemson rowing team finished sixth in the South Region to end their 2004 campaign. The Varsity 8+, coached by Susie Lueck, earned a third-place finish at the ACC Championships at Lake Hartwell. Juniors Mary Nell Green and Robin Mescher were named to the All-ACC team. Green was also named to the All-Region team by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association, the 12th Clemson rower selected in the program’s six yeasr. Novice coach Kelly Lynch earned her second consecutive South Region Assistant Coach of the Year award after guiding the Novice 8+ to the South Region title. Rowers Ashlee Brown, Sarah Canterbury, Green, Lizzie Noll and Jaclyn Rath were named National Scholar Athletes by the CRCA.

Golf – The Clemson golf team won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and the NCAA East Regional Championship for the second consecutive year. Clemson shot an ACC Tournament school record 27-under-par in winning the league tournament, then shot a tournament best 277 on the final day to win the East Regional. Matt Hendrix won the Puerto Rico Classic and the Augusta State Invitational and finished with a top 15 final college ranking. Jack Ferguson finished second at the ACC Tournament and had a team best 10 top 20 finishes. Both golfers were named second-team All-Americans. The Tigers were ranked second as a team in the final Sagarin Computer ranking and finished 18th at the NCAA Championships, the 19th top 25 finish for Larry Penley’s program. That tied a Clemson coaching record for top 25 finishes in a career. Penley, the ACC Coach of the Year, was inducted into the College Golf Hall of Fame in January, the first coach in Clemson history to be inducted into a Hall of Fame while still an active coach.

Women’s Track & Field – The Lady Tigers brought home All-America honors in the 4x400m relay indoor and the triple jump outdoor during the 2004 seasons. Junior Gisele Oliveira continued to set the standard for the conference and Clemson in the triple jump, re-setting her own conference and school record mark in the event under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Marcia Noad. She placed third in the triple jump outdoor for the second consecutive year, and also excelled in the classroom, earning first-team Academic All-America honors. The Lady Tigers’ 4x400m relay team placed eighth at the NCAA Indoor Championships, earning Silja Ulfarsdottir, Shakirah Rutherford, Christina Smith and Randi Hinton All-America honors. Clemson also placed third at the ACC Indoor Championships, its highest finish since 2001.

Men’s Track & Field – The highlight of the 2004 Tiger track and field team was capturing the ACC Outdoor Championships with a conference-record 224-point scoring total. It was the Tigers’ 11th outdoor crown and ninth under 16th-year Head Coach Bob Pollock. Sixteen Tigers earned All-ACC honors and Clemson scored in every event in which it was entered. Indoor, Clemson was the runner-up at the ACC Indoor Championships held at Clemson’s new indoor track and field facility. Junior George Kitchens earned All-America honors in the long jump and sophomore Roy Cheney was an All-American in the 60m hurdles. Outdoor, Kitchens once again earned the All-America accolade, placing eighth in the long jump to become Clemson’s first two-time outdoor All-American in that event.