June 23, 2008
Overall Program Clemson had eight of its programs finish in the top 25 of their respective sports in 2007-08. That tied for the most top 25 teams in the same academic year since 2001-02. The Clemson top 25 programs were: Golf (5th), men’s indoor track (12th), rowing (12th), women’s tennis (13th), men’s outdoor track (21st), football (21st), men’s basketball (22nd), volleyball (22nd).
Clemson finished in the top 25 of the AP college football and the AP college men’s basketball polls. It marked just the third time in Clemson athletics history that has happened. It was also accomplished in 1986-87 and 1989-90. Clemson was 22nd in the final AP college men’s basketball poll and 21st in the final AP college football poll. Clemson joined Kansas, Tennessee and Texas as the only schools in the nation to rank in the top 25 in both football and men’s basketball.
It was a strong year for women’s athletics, as Clemson won ACC Championships in volleyball and women’s tennis.
It was the first women’s volleyball ACC Championship since the 1997 season, the first regular season title since 1999. Jolene Hoover’s team had a 29-4 overall mark, including a 21-1 league record. The program reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament by beating Alabama at Clemson. Hoover was named ACC Coach of the Year.
Clemson’s women’s tennis program reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers won 12 consecutive matches late in the season before losing to Stanford in the NCAA Tournament. Ani Mijacika ranked as the number-one player in the nation on two separate occasions, and finished the year ranked second, tied for the second highest final ranking by a Clemson women’s tennis player in history.
The women’s soccer team also advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, an event it has played in for 15 straight years. Clemson has reached the NCAA Tournament every year of its existence.
The rowing team’s Varsity 8 boat was chosen for the NCAA Championships for the first time in Clemson history. The team ranked 12th in the final poll, the highest final ranking in history, and finished 13th as a team at the NCAA Championships. First year coach Richard Ruggeri was honored as the region coach of the year.
There were also some landmark team accomplishments on the men’s side. The men’s basketball program reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years with a third place finish in the ACC standings, its best ACC finish since 1990. Clemson had a 24-10 overall record and reached the ACC Tournament championship game for just the second time in history and for the first time since 1962. The team ranked 22nd in the final AP poll, Clemson’s first final top 25 ranking in 11 years.
Clemson was one of three ACC football teams in the final top 25 of both polls. Virginia Tech was ninth in both polls and Boston College was 11th. The Tigers finished with a 9-4 record and joined Virginia Tech and Boston College as the only three ACC schools to win at least eight games in each of the last three years. Clemson defeated rival South Carolina 23-21 on a 35-yard field goal by Mark Buchholz on the last play of the game.
The Clemson golf team had the highest national finish among all sports at Clemson with a number-five ranking at the NCAA Championships at Purdue University. The Tigers were just seven strokes off the pace set by NCAA Champion UCLA. The Tigers also finished third at the NCAA West Regional. It was the ninth top 10 finish for the program in the last 12 years, more than any other team in college golf during that time period.
The Clemson men’s swimming program won 12 meets and lost just two. That included a 6-2 mark in ACC meets. That established a school record for ACC wins in a year and the 12 overall wins ranked second in school history.
Clemson’s men’s track program had a strong year with two top 25 finishes. The Tigers ranked 12th at the NCAA Indoor championships and 21st at the outdoor championships. Travis Padgett finished third in the 60 meters indoors and second in the 100 meters outdoors.
Academic Excellence Five Clemson student-athletes, including two members of ACC Championship teams, were among those inducted into the Delta Chapter of SC of Phi Beta Kappa in April. Swimmer Matt Balderston, volleyball player Sue Eckman, tennis player Kathryn Gerber, rower Lizzy Jennings and football player Jimmy Maners became the first student-athletes to join the prestigious organization at Clemson University.
Forty Atlantic Coast Conference scholar-athletes were named recipients of postgraduate scholarships, as announced by Commissioner John D. Swofford, and three Tigers were among the winners for 2008. Cliff Hammonds (men’s basketball) and Elizabeth Jobe (women’s soccer) received the Weaver-James-Corrigan Award, while Meghan Steiner (volleyball) received the Jim and Pat Thacker Award.
Hammonds will be remembered as one of the top all-around student-athletes in Clemson history. He was the first recipient of the ACC’s Skip Prosser Award, which is presented to the league’s top all-around student-athlete. In May he was the national runner up for the Arthur Ashe Award, which is presented for all-around athletic and academic excellence among African American athletes. He became the first scholarship men’s basketball player to earn a degree in architecture.
Two multi-sport athletes also stood out on the field and in the classroom. Mark Buchholz became the first Clemson athlete to play football and men’s soccer in the same semester since 1982. C.J. Spiller was the MVP of the Chick-fil-A Bowl and was an All-American in indoor track. Both students earned at least a 3.0 in the classroom both semesters during the 2007-08 academic year. They are the first two multi-sport athletes on record to make the academic honor roll in both semesters while playing multiple sports.
Clemson student-athletes posted a 2.87 GPA in the fall and a 2.89 in the spring. Over Fifty percent of the student-athletes were on the academic honor roll over the course of the year.
Clemson’s football team posted a 2.63 GPA for the spring semester, the highest semester GPA in the program’s history.
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