July 19, 1999
CLEMSON, SC – Jerry Butler, Dale Davis and Barbara Kennedy, three Clemson student-athletes who made significant contributions to the heritage of Clemson athletics within the last 20 years, will be inducted into their respective sports Ring of Honor during the 1999-00 academic year.
Butler, now the wide receivers coach of the Cleveland Browns, will be inducted into the Clemson Football Ring of Honor at Memorial Stadium during ceremonies prior to the Clemson vs. Marshall game on September 4. That contest is slated for a 6:00 PM kickoff. Davis, now the starting power forward for the Indiana Pacers of the NBA, and Kennedy, still the all-time leading scorer in the history of ACC women’s basketball, will be inducted at halftime of a basketball game to be determind later this year when schedules are finalized.
Butler will be the sixth member of the Clemson Football Ring of Honor. He will join Hall of Fame Head Coach Frank Howard and former players Banks McFadden, Fred Cone, Steve Fuller and Jeff Davis. Dale Davis and Barbara Kennedy will be the first inductees in their respective sports Ring of Honor.
The Clemson Ring of Honor Committee selects honorees every two years. Inductees must hold a degree from a four-year institution, have made a significant contribution to the history of Clemson athletics on a team and individual basis, and be a member of the Clemson Hall of Fame. As part of the ceremony, the athletie’s jersey is retired.
Butler was a first-team Associated Press All-American in 1978. He was the co-winner of the Frank Howard Award in 1979 along with former teammate and Ring of Honor member Steve Fuller. The native of Ware Shoals, SC ranked 10th in the nation in receiving in 1978, still the highest ranking in history for a Clemson receiver.
Butler still holds the Clemson record for reception yards in a single game with 163 against Georgia Tech in 1977. He also still holds the Clemson record for consecutive games catching a pass. He grabbed at least one pass in 35 consecutive games between 1976-78. His 58 receptions in 1978 established a Clemson record that stood until Tony Horne had 70 catches in 1997.
Butler and Fuller connected on perhaps the most famous play in Clemson history. Butler’s diving catch of a 20-yard Fuller pass with just 49 seconds left, gave Clemson a 27-24 victory at South Carolina in 1977. That victory clinched a Gator Bowl bid for the Tigers, Clemson’s first bowl invitation in 18 years.
At the conclusion of his career, Butler was the number-five selection of the entire NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills, the highest draft selection for a Clemson football player since 1940. Butler played with the Bills for nine years. He was named the AFC Rookie of the Year in 1979 and played in the 1980 Pro Bowl.
Butler’s top game as a professional took place on September 23, 1979 when he had 10 receptions for 255 yards and four touchdowns. Those were NFL Rookie receiving records in all three categories. For his NFL career he played in 88 games, 82 as a starter. He had 278 career receptions for 4301 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Butler, a 1986 Clemson Hall of Fame inductee, has also been honored for his outstanding community service activities. In 1989 he won the Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service Award as presented by the Bills organization. In 1987 he received the Salute to Young Leaders Award from the YMCA of greater Buffalo. In 1983 he won the Jackie Robinson Award for community Service by the YMCA of Greater Buffalo. He was named the Buffalo Bills Man of the Year in both 1981 and 1982 of his community service activities.
Davis led the ACC in rebounding and field goal percentage in 1988-89 and 1989-90, still the only player in league history to lead the conference in both areas in consecutive years. Davis led the ACC in rebounding three consecutive seasons, one of only four players in league history to do that. His 67 percent field goal percentage in 1988-89 is still the all-time league record.
The native of Toccoa, GA was a three-time All-ACC selection. In 1989-90 he led Clemson’s only ACC regular season championship team in history with 11.2 rebounds per game. That Clemson team finished 26-9 and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. One of his greatest games was a 26-point, 17-rebound performance in a victory against a 28-1 LaSalle team in that NCAA Tournament.
After graduating from Clemson with his original class in 1991, Davis was the 12th selection of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers. He just completed his eighth season with the franchise and is the team’s all-time leading rebounder overall and in playoff games.
Kennedy (now Barbara Dixon) is still the all-time leading scorer in the history of ACC women’s basketball. In her four-year career between 1978-82, she scored 3113 career points, an average of 24.5 points per game. She collected 1252 career rebounds, also the all-time league mark, and shot 50 percent from the field.
A first-team All-American in 1981 and 1982, Kennedy was also a two-time MVP of the ACC Tournament. She set an NCAA record for field goals in a season and her 908 points scored in 1982 is still among the top five highest scoring seasons in women’s basketball history. She led the nation in scoring in 1981-82 with a 29.3 average and scored 43 points in her first NCAA Tournament game, at Penn State in 1982. Clemson went to the national tournament all four years and won the ACC regular season title in 1981.
Kennedy had an incredible 93 20-point games and 28 30-point games in her career. A member of the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame, she was a member of the United States National Team in 1982. The 1985 Clemson graduate is now an academic advisor for the student-athlete enrichment program at Clemson.
March 17, 2019