Bill D’Andrea Answers Your ‘Ask The Tigers’ Questions

Bill D’Andrea Answers Your ‘Ask The Tigers’ Questions

May 10, 2001

Below are Bill D’Andrea’s answers to the selected questions that you submitted this past week to “Ask The Tigers”. would like to thank you for all of your questions submitted. We would also like to thank Bill for his time and sincere effort with “Ask The Tigers”. ________________________________

Mr. D’Andrea, Could you talk a little about the CHAMPS Program that I have recently heard about?Debbie Ashton Columbia, SC

CHAMPS was an NCAA initiative back in the early 90s. It stands for Challenging Athletes Minds for Personal Success. It consists of five elements, an academic component, a personal growth and development, a career enhancement, community service, and athletics. All five of those components are comprehensive with various services and applications that we have to give our student-athletes. I think like anything, things work in relationship, and we hope that with community service, the student-athletes understand their visibility. They will develop more self-confidence and engagement skills that they can apply to the classroom as well as on job interview. We hope their academic success can transform over into other areas. Each component is relative to each other and certainly we think that this addresses the whole person.

Bill, You always hear about Vickery Hall being a big selling point for Clemson, what advantages does Vickery offer that other schools do not?John McGuirce Roswell, GA

Well, we are the only stand-alone facility in the country. By that I mean that we are not adjacent to the coliseum, or the football stadium, or the offices of the athletic department. We are kind of independent in the sense that we are here amongst the academic people (faculty, professors, etc.). I think that it’s location on campus give us the opportunity to have a lot of traffic coming in and out with kids going to and from classes, they will stop in and seek help. And certainly the commitment that the athletic department has made to make this one of the top programs in the country. With all of the resources that we have, the funding, the support, the staff, I think that our student-athletes benefit greatly by what we are able to do to serve them.

Bill, With the demanding travel schedule that a lot of sports have, how difficult is it to work with the professors and keep the athletes on track?Brian Reed Greenville, SC

It is getting more difficult, I think, because of the increased travel for various sports. We try to do certain things to teach our student-athletes what they can do when they are not going to be here. We do have the cooperation from most faculty. We have an athletic travel verification that verifies that that athlete was traveling and not just missing class. There is a lot of responsibility that actually falls on the student-athlete to make sure they get the notes, to make sure that they are not missing an assignment, and various things like that. What we are trying to do is to teach the student-athletes to be better ambassadors of the athletic department when they are traveling. And to say “hey, what can I do while I’m gone? What can I do to be ready for class when I get back?”.

Mr. D’Andrea, What is the best and worst thing about your job?Elliot Archer Hickory, NC

I think that the best thing about my job is that I have a wide scope of responsibility and a wide scope of interaction with people like faculty members, upper-level administration from the University, alumni, and most of all the student-athletes. I pretty much know all 600 of our student-athletes. Just having that energy and enthusiasm of that youth coming at you every day is invigorating. To see people accomplish goals and aspirations, to move forward, to jump through each step, to graduate and move on. That is the best part of my job.

The most frustrating part of my job is to see people that have ability, both athletically and academically, and squander the opportunity. They just don’t really give their best effort. They major in eligibility, just to get by, play four years, and then realize in four of five years when it’s too late that they really need to get their degree. Not only is it frustrating, but it’s kind of sad.

Bill, What can Vickery Hall legally do to inspire personal growth in our athletes.Arthur M. Klugh,III Anderson, SC

Our personal growth and development program is designed some of the transition issues that freshman are going to face as college students. We have various seminars, lectures, and faculty members that we expose all of our teams and student-athletes to, in commitment to the ongoing education and personal growth. What we want to accomplish through that program is to get our student-athletes to develop responsibility, ownership, and independence. We want the kids to grow. To come in as a freshman, then a little bigger as a sophomore, a little bigger as a junior, and then you hope that they are prepared, not just with a degree, but with the requisite skills needed for a job and in life. So we hope that our personal growth and development program is an interest to our student-athletes because it is contributing to their decision-making skills as well as their academic skills.

Bill, As a fan and Clemson graduate, I find it disheartening when kids (from any school) leave early for the instant money and glamour of the professionals. I am sure that it disheartens you and your staff even more. My question is: what do you and your staff do to try and get through to these kids that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a college student and get that degree?Jon Wise Charlotte, NC

Well, we first try to show them that the window of opportunity is very limited to get that degree. Just like the window of opportunity in athletics is small. But it is not that we don’t support people leaving early. If you are the first round pick in basketball or football, and are looking at significant amounts of money, it’s hard to combat that by saying “turn that 10 million dollars down and come back to school”. But what we try to do is to give them prudent decisions while they’re here. By that, I mean that we don’t want them to squander a semester because they know that they are going to leave early. We want them to do the very best they can while they are here, so that they can come back and be in good shape.

Bill, What do you think is the biggest and best reason for an athlete to want to come to Clemson University?John Caudle Columbia, SC

Well, I think that the environment, spirit, and tradition offers a tremendous amount to an athlete. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, I think that we are going to be competitive. I think that an athlete is going to have every opportunity to be successful on the playing field and in the classroom. I think that the athletic department has really made a commitment to that. I think that the environment, the small town, the spirit here is unique to the other schools that I have been a part of, coached at, and been around. I think that we have an atmosphere that is conducive to a small town. Their son or daughter is not going to get lost in the crowd.

Bill, Could you name an athlete from the past and one from the present that has stood out in the classroom as an exceptional worker (not necessarily the highest GPA).Janet Stansberry Spartanburg, SC

I would have to say that Warren Forney would have to stand out from the past. He was somebody who’s work ethic in the class was just exceptional. Right now there are several athletes. But to name the most visible I guess I would have to say probably Chad Carson, Kyle Young, and Charles Hafley. They really stand out to me as extremely hard workers.

Go Tigers! Bill D’Andrea

Next week’s guest on “Ask The Tigers” will be Clemson University Athletic Director Bobby Robinson.