Clemson was one of just two schools in the nation to go to a bowl game, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and the NCAA baseball Tournament in 1996-97. Stanford was the only other school to do it. It was the second straight year Clemson had pulled off the major sport triple.
Clemson won five ACC Championships during the 1996-97 sports year, which was the second most in the ACC. Clemson’s five championships were the most since the 1988-89 season when the Tigers won seven championships. The five teams that won titles were men’s golf, men’s tennis, men’s outdoor track, women’s swimming, and men’s indoor track.
Clemson won three of the five ACC championships on the same weekend, the first school in history to win three men’s spring sports championships in the same weekend. It was just the eighth time that one school had won three ACC men’s Spring sports championships in the same academic year, the third time by Clemson.
Two Clemson teams finished their season in the top 10 of the final rankings. The men’s basketball team finished eighth, its highest ever final season ranking, while the men’s golf team was third, tied for its highest final ranking in history.
Eleven of Clemson’s 18 teams were ranked in the top 25 of their respective polls at one time or another during the season, and 8 teams were in the final Top 25 of their respective sports final polls, or national tournaments, most since 1993-94. The men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s track, women’s soccer, and golf teams were ranked in the top 25 of every poll.
13 teams participated in post-season NCAA/bowl competition, with seven out of a possible 10 receiving NCAA tournament invitations. Those 7 teams were football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, baseball, golf, and men’s tennis.
Seven different Clemson teams had an All-American (first or second team) in 1996-97, and seven different teams (out of a possible 11) had victories over top 25 opponents.
1996-97 was also a big year for former Clemson athletes. * Clemson had 22 players in the NFL, including five who were chosen to the Pro Bowl, more than any other school. * Twenty former Clemson players were in professional baseball, including five in the Major Leagues. For the second time in the decade of the 1990s, former Tiger Jimmy Key was the winning pitcher in the clinching game in the World Series. * Clemson also had six former players in the NBA and three in professional soccer. * Former Clemson golfer Clarence Rose won the Sprint International Tournament and played in the Master’s for the first time in his career. * Six athletes with Clemson ties, two current and four former, won medals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Clemson had three members of the Olympic baseball team, more than any other school.
Clemson’s student-athletes posted a record 2.64 GPA for the academic year. The Tigers also had a record setting number of academic honor roll student athletes (159) for a Spring semester and for the year (143).
Many sports had their highest academic honor roll totals (3.0 or better for entire academic year) in history, including football, which had 20.
Bruce Marchionda’s women’s swim team posted the highest team GPA in the Spring semester with a 3.19, which was also a team record. There were 21 swimmers who made the academic honor roll, including 12 dean’s list achievers. The 21 student-athletes on the honor roll for the Spring semester were an all-time high for that program.
Among the other athletic teams that set records for team GPA in a semester were women’s volleyball, women’s basketball, and men’s soccer. The men’s basketball team had its highest GPA (2.77) since 1983. Clemson also had five teams to set or tie their single semester high for academic honor roll selections.
All-American’s Matthew LeCroy, Richard Coughlin, and Mitch Sprengelmeyer all made the dean’s list in the Spring semester of 1997, while noted athletes Tom Wideman, Craig Wenning, Devrin Carr, Melissa Odom, and Jennifer Wilhelmy made President’s list (4.0). Overall, there were 14 President’s list student-athletes in the Spring semester.
Nine of Clemson’s 13 programs had a team GPA higher than that of the student body average in the Spring semester.
1996-97 Clemson Sports Program in Review
ACC Natl. Sport Overall Pct. Finish Finish Football 7-5 .583 T-2nd NR Men’s Soccer 10-7-2 .579 5th NR W. Soccer 15-7-1 .674 T-2nd 11th W. Cross Country NA NA 4th NR M. Cross Country NA NA 5th NR Volleyball 17-15 .531 T-4th NR M. Basketball 23-10 .697 T-4th 8 W. Basketball 19-11 .633 6th 21 *W. Swimming 7-2 .778 3rd NR M. Swimming 5-5 .500 T-5th NR W. Indoor Track NA NA 3rd NR *M. Indoor Track NA NA 1st 25 Baseball 41-23 .640 2nd 24 W. Tennis 6-14 .300 T6th NR *M. Tennis 20-11 .645 2nd 19 *Golf NA NA 1st 3 W. Outdoor Track NA NA 3rd NR *M. Outdoor Track NA NA 1st 17
#Final Ranking based on final poll, others based on NCAA Championship competition. *ACC Champion
July 19, 2019