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Sep 21, 2023

Clemson & Florida State Connections

By: Tim Bourret

Note: The following appears in the Florida State football gameday program.

When you look at the history of the ACC, at least the last 32 years, the two greatest runs of success have been achieved by Clemson and Florida State. The Seminoles had at least a share of the ACC title every year between 1992, their first year in the ACC, and 2000. In its 31 years in the league, Florida State has been champion 15 times.

Clemson has won the ACC title seven of the last eight years, including last season when the Tigers had a 9-0 record against league teams, including winning the ACC Championship Game. In the last 12 years, Clemson has won eight ACC titles, including a league-record six consecutive outright titles.

In the nine years of the College Football Playoff era, Clemson has participated six times and Florida State once, the only participation by ACC members.

There are many connections between Clemson and Florida State in terms of coaching and administrative personnel in the last 30 years.

Former Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden (1999-08) is the son of former Florida State Hall of Fame Head Coach Bobby Bowden. Tommy is fourth in Tiger history in career victories (72), including a 7-2 record against rival South Carolina. Bobby had a 5-4 record versus Tommy in their head-to-head coaching meetings, but Tommy won four of the last five meetings, including an upset victory over No. 3 Florida State in the 2003 season.

Bobby beat Clemson at Death Valley six times, more than any other opposing coach, and had a 6-4 overall record against the Tigers at Memorial Stadium.

In 1999, the two coaches met in the first meeting of father and son in a Division I football game. The media attention was unprecedented, and a Clemson record crowd of 86,092 attended the game. Clemson gave the Seminoles, the eventual national champion, their toughest game of the year before Florida State came out on top 17-14.

Brad Scott was a common factor during the great run of the 1990s by Florida State and Clemson’s great run in the 2010s. Scott served as offensive coordinator of Florida State’s national championship team in 1993.

Regarded as an outstanding recruiter, he had a lot to do with the recruitment of Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke in the same 1989 recruiting class. Both went on to win the Heisman Trophy, Ward in 1993 and Weinke in 2000. Scott coached Ward directly during that 1993 season, and Weinke came back to Florida State in 1997 after playing baseball for seven years.

Overall, Scott served the Seminole program from 1983-93 under Bobby Bowden. Scott was the offensive coordinator from 1990-93.

At Clemson, Scott joined Tommy Bowden’s staff in 1999 as offensive linemen coach and was later offensive coordinator, including the 2003 season, when Clemson downed Florida State at Death Valley for the first time.

Scott continued to serve Clemson in administration under Head Coach Dabo Swinney from 2011-19.

Jeff Scott, Brad’s son, obviously grew up in Tallahassee when Brad was an assistant coach and saw many Florida State games and practices from the sideline as a youngster. He was Clemson’s wide receivers coach from 2008-19 and served as co-offensive coordinator from 2015-19. He served in that position for both of Clemson’s national championships in 2016 and 2018.

Hootie Ingram was Clemson’s head coach from 1970-72, then served as Florida State’s athletic director in the 1980s. Many of his administrative decisions contributed to the early success of the Seminoles under Bowden. It was basically Ingram’s idea to change Clemson’s logo to the Tiger Paw in 1970. He succeeded Frank Howard as Clemson’s head coach in 1970.

Former Clemson tight end Garrett Williams is the son of former Seminole fullback Dayne Williams. Dayne was the upback who took the snap on the “Puntrooskie” play at Clemson in 1988. He then placed the ball between the legs of LeRoy Butler, who ran 78 yards to set up the game-winning field goal.

When the Tigers played at Florida State in 2018, Garrett’s senior year, he scored a touchdown on a two-yard run in Clemson’s 59-10 win. It was the only touchdown of his career.

Fred Hoover was Clemson’s athletic trainer from 1959-98, a 40-season run. One of the most respected men in his field, he was inducted into the state of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 2022. He graduated from Florida State.

Mickey Andrews is another assistant coach who served both schools. In 1978, Andrews was the defensive backs coach on a Tiger staff that led the program to an 11-1 record and No. 6 final ranking in the AP poll, at the time the highest final ranking in school history. Andrews later had a 26-season run as Florida State’s defensive coordinator under Bobby Bowden from 1984-09. He was a significant reason Florida State had a 14-year run of 10+ win seasons between 1987-00, an era that included two national championships.