Sept. 12, 2008
Jim DavisWomen’s Basketball Coach 1987-04 Widely considered one of Clemson’s most popular and influential coaches, Women’s Basketball Head Coach Jim Davis led the Lady Tiger program into national prominence during his 18 seasons at the helm. During his tenure, he amassed 355 wins, making him the winningest basketball coach (men or women) in Clemson history. Only twice did a Davis-coached team miss postseason play. He also brought Clemson its only ACC Tournament titles (1995,99) in basketball.
In the 1987-88 season, his first as head coach at Clemson, Davis took over a team that had finished the previous season with a 7-21 record and guided it to a 21-9 mark, the biggest single-season turnaround in ACC history. That first season ushered in an era of unparalleled success that spanned more than a decade-and-a-half and established Clemson as a national force.
Under Davis’ leadership, the Lady Tigers finished with a top-25 ranking 11 times, including an eighth-place finish in 1990-91 that is still the highest end-of-season ranking in school history. His teams reached the “Sweet 16” four times, and the 1990-91 team reached the “Elite Eight.” Overall, he won 51 contests against top-25 ranked opponents, including a pair of wins over top-ranked teams. He also finished in the ACC’s top three seven times and compiled a 154-124 league record.
Davis coached many All-ACC standouts during his time at Clemson, as 16 of his players were named to the all-conference squad. In addition, three of his players (Jessica Barr, Chrissy Floyd, Itoro Umoh) were named to the ACC 50-Year Anniversary team. Davis also groomed Erin Batth, who became Clemson’s first and only pick in the WNBA draft when the Cleveland Rockers chose her with the #59 overall selection in 2001.
Arguably the most distinctive qualities of Davis’ teams were their toughness and discipline. He recruited student-athletes that were able to take that discipline and apply it to academics as well. During his 18 seasons at the helm of the program, he graduated 100 percent of his four-year players, a remarkable statistic that may say more about him than any of his many other accomplishments.
Davis announced his retirement from coaching following the 2003-04 season, yet he remained with the athletic department in a consulting role. He remains an active ambassador for Clemson University within the community.
Lucy DoolittleRowing 1998-02 Rowing was established at Clemson in 1998. Lucy Doolittle (now Lucy Wilkinson) was a member of that inaugural team and is widely recognized as the first great rower in Clemson history. Her dedication to the upstart rowing program helped it grow into a recognized and respectable unit nationally.
A native of nearby Mauldin, SC, Doolittle began her Tiger career as a member of the undefeated Novice 8+ crew in 1999. For the majority of her career, however, she rowed with the Varsity 8+ crew, which is considered the highest level of collegiate rowing.
She burst onto the scene in the 1999-00 season, when she was named Clemson’s Most Improved Rower. From 2000-02, she was named to the CRCA All-Region team three times, becoming the first Tiger named to this team and the only one named to the team three times. Twice she was picked to the All-ACC team, and in 2001, she was a member of the ACC Crew-of-the-Year.
Doolittle’s efforts were not just recognized within the region or around the conference. In fact, she was widely regarded as one of the top rowers in the country during her final two seasons at Clemson. She was named Clemson’s first All-American in rowing in 2001 and followed that up with another All-America selection in 2002.
In addition, Doolittle was named to the ACC 50-Year Anniversary team in 2002, one of only three Clemson student-athletes named to the team while still in school. Based on her achievements, she was invited to participate in the National Team Identification Camp at Princeton in 2001, which was essentially a tryout for the United States rowing team. She is one of only 34 rowers in Clemson history to earn four varsity letters as well.
Not only was Doolittle a phenomenal athlete, she was also an effective motivator and an exemplary student. In 2001, she was one of three rowers to receive the team’s Most Inspirational Varsity Award. She was also named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll all four years at Clemson.
Doolittle graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology with a minor in elementary education. She is currently a youth minister at Earl Street Baptist Church in Greenville, SC.
Angel FleetwoodTrack & Field 1989-92 Angel Fleetwood (now Angel Shelton) had a decorated career as a track star at Clemson during the early 1990s, and her presence in the record book continues to this day. The Windsor, VA native is still considered one of the greatest female sprinters in school history.
Fleetwood ran on some successful squads during her years at Clemson. The Lady Tigers won the ACC title in outdoor track during her sophomore season (1990-91) then won the conference crown in indoor track during the 1991-92 campaign. Only one other time (1998-99) has a Clemson women’s track team won the ACC title. During her four years in Tigertown, her team finished lower than second in the ACC only once, and even then the Lady Tigers finished in third place.
As an individual, Fleetwood was a force in both indoor and outdoor track. Her specialty was the 400m. She won the 1991 ACC title in the 400m indoors with a time of 54.44, which is actually slower than her personal-best time of 53.82 seconds, the fourth-fastest time in school history.
In 1992, she was named to the All-ACC team in both the 400m indoors and 200m outdoors. In addition, her 400m time (52.78), which was ninth-best in the country, was good enough to earn her a spot on the All-America squad. She is one of only two Lady Tiger sprinters to be named an All-American in the 400m indoors.
For all of her individual accomplishments, she will be best remembered for her performances in relays. She won the ACC crown in the 4x100m relay three straight times (1990-92). Fleetwood, Lisa Dillard, Kim Graham, and Anita Henderson were named to the 1991 All-America team for their 4x100m relay time of 44.39. Fleetwood along with Gail Prescod, Graham, and Karen Hartmann currently hold the school record for the sprint-medley relay with a time of 3:44.09, more than 15 seconds better than any other Clemson quartet.
Fleetwood finished her career with five ACC championships, 10 all-conference selections, and two All-America honors. She was also a brilliant student at Clemson, as evidenced by her three ACC Academic Honor Roll and 1992 Academic All-America selections. Furthermore, she was named to the ACC 50-Year Anniversary team along with 11 other former Lady Tiger track & field athletes.
She received a degree in political science and a master’s degree in business administration, both from Clemson. She currently works for the Ingersoll-Rand Law Firm in Chicago, IL as a general counsel in the security technologies sector.
Ruth GrodskySwimming & Diving 1985-88 In her four-year career at Clemson, Ruth Grodsky (now Ruth Hurley) was a prominent factor on some of the most successful swimming teams in school history. The Tigers claimed three ACC titles during those years and never finished lower than ninth in the nation, an accomplishment that can be partially attributed to her remarkable consistency.
Grodsky won at least one ACC title in each of her four seasons and was named an All-ACC selection three times. As a freshman, she shared the ACC 200m individual medley title. During that year, the relay team of Grodsky, Nadra Simmons, Lynda Hughes, and Kitty Christian also claimed the conference crown in the 200m medley relay.
The 1986-87 season began a string of success that ushered in the heyday of the Clemson women’s swimming program. During that year, the squad won its first of three consecutive ACC Championships. In those three seasons, the Tigers were a combined 13-0 in conference meets.
Grodsky had a great deal of individual success during that period as well. In 1987, she won the ACC title in the 200m breaststroke and was named to the All-America team for her time in the 400m medley relay. She also received an honorable mention selection in the 200m medley relay.
During the 1987-88 season, Grodsky, Jill Bakehorn, Hughes, and Pam Hayden won the conference championship in the 400m medley relay. Grodsky was also able to garner All-America honors in the 200m medley relay and honorable mention accolades in the 200m breaststroke. Grodsky later received her second All-ACC selection during that year and competed in the 1988 Olympic Trials in the 200m breaststroke.
Her senior year was even more successful, as she won five ACC titles (three individuals, two relays). At the ACC meet, she won the 100m and 200m breaststroke titles. In addition, she claimed first place in the 400m individual medley. Her 200m and 400m medley relay teams also finished at the top of the ACC. Her times earned her a third all-conference selection and All-America honors in the 200m medley relay. She also earned honorable mention honors in the 400m medley relay.
Grodsky’s success was not limited to the pool, as she was named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll twice. Overall, she finished her run with the Tigers as a six-time All-American, eight-time ACC champion, and three-time All-ACC selection. Her times in the 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, and 400m individual medley are still among the top-10 times in school history.
Grodsky graduated with a degree in psychology and currently has a full-time job raising three children.
Anthony SimmonsFootball 1995-97 Over the years, Clemson has seen many of its talented linebackers go on to have successful NFL careers, but very few played the way Anthony Simmons did. He boasts one of the most impressive three-year stints in school history and is considered one of the most productive linebackers in ACC history.
He brought a reputation as a strong tackler with him to Clemson and put his skills on display as a freshman. His 150 tackles and 11 tackles for loss led the 1995 team, as he garnered third-team All-America honors by AP. He also earned ACC Rookie-of-the-Year and First-Team All-ACC accolades. In addition, UPI named him national freshman-of-the-year, the only Tiger to win that honor.
After such a magnificent beginning, Simmons could have felt the pressure of lofty expectations heading into the 1996 season. Instead, he flourished, setting the school record for tackles in a season (178), a mark that is second-best in Tiger history today. He led the ACC in tackles and earned a first-team all-conference selection for the second consecutive year. He was once again a third-team All-America selection as well.
Simmons became one of the premier players in the nation as a junior. He led both Clemson and the ACC in tackles (158) and tackles for loss (25) en route to a third-consecutive First-Team All-ACC season. He also led the Tigers in sacks (8).
His astounding season was nationally recognized, as he was considered a consensus first-team All-America performer. He was the first Tiger defender selected to the first team since 1982. Simmons was also a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s best linebacker.
Simmons entered the NFL draft after his junior year but still managed to put a dent into the Tiger record book. He was Clemson’s leading tackler in 28 of his 36 career games and finished his career with a 17-game streak with at least one tackle for loss. He was just the second ACC player named an AP All-American three times, and he joined Levon Kirkland and William Perry as the only Tigers to earn three First-Team All-ACC selections.
The Spartanburg, SC native is still second in Clemson history in career tackles (486) and fourth in tackles for loss (52). Twice he was given the Banks McFadden Award, which goes to the best college player in South Carolina.
Simmons was the #15 overall pick of the 1997 NFL draft by the Seahawks, with whom he played his entire seven-year career. He was named to the ACC 50-Year Anniversary team in 2002 as well.
Itoro UmohBasketball 1995-99 There are few players in the history of Clemson women’s basketball that have received more accolades than Itoro Umoh (now Itoro Coleman). She was a well-rounded player and a tremendous passer and defender who received national recognition.
As a freshman during the 1995-96 season, Umoh was a key reserve off the bench for the ACC Champion Lady Tigers. She received one ACC Rookie-of-the-Week honor, and she led the team in assists and steals as a reserve.
As a sophomore, she earned a starting spot and led the team in points, assists, and steals. On one occasion, she was named ACC Player-of-the-Week, and she capped off the year by being named a Second-Team All-ACC performer. In a game against N.C. State in the ACC Tournament, she set the all-time record for free throws made without a miss (9). That performance earned her a spot on the first-team all-tournament squad.
Umoh’s 1997-98 season was even better, as she led the team in assists and steals for the third consecutive year. A Second-Team All-ACC selection and first-team All-ACC Tournament choice awaited her at season’s end.
The 1998-99 season allowed Umoh to put her stamp on the program. Predictably, she led the team in assists and steals once again. On January 17, 1999, she became the second Lady Tiger ever to record a triple-double when she had 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists against Wake Forest. She later earned First-Team All-ACC honors.
The team went on to win the ACC Tournament title, as Umoh led the way with 54 points in the Lady Tigers’ three games. She was named the unanimous MVP of the tournament and garnered honorable mention All-America honors by AP. She was also named to the Kodak Region III All-America team and had the opportunity to play for the United States in the Pan-American Games in the summer of 1999. In addition, she participated in the WBCA All-Star game.
Umoh is third in career steals, third in career assists, and 10th in career points at Clemson. She was named to the ACC 50-Year Anniversary team in 2002 as well as the ACC’s Silver Anniversary team. Umoh joined the Nigerian National Team for the 2004 Olympics and 2006 FIBA World Championships.
She graduated with a degree in speech & communication then went on to play in the WNBA during the 2001 and 2003 seasons. Umoh is currently entering her second season as an assistant coach at Penn State after a four-year stint (2003-07) as an assistant at Clemson.
Willie UnderwoodFootball 1977-80 One game defined former Clemson defensive back Willie Underwood’s collegiate career. Contrary to popular belief, Underwood was not a one-game wonder. The Fort Payne, AL was a consistent player throughout his four-year career. He increased his tackle totals each year and tallied a career-best 67 stops in 1980. In four years, Underwood registered 170 tackles and 12 tackles for loss.
His main contribution to the Tiger program, especially during his senior year, was leadership. He was the team captain and one of the most vocal players on the squad. His spirited and lively play inspired his teammates on a weekly basis.
Underwood’s place in Clemson lore was cemented on November 22, 1980. On that day, his Tigers faced #14 South Carolina in Death Valley in his final home game.
The tone of the game was set before the opening kickoff when the Tigers ran down the Hill sporting orange pants for the first time at home. Entering the game, there were questions about how effective Underwood would be since he was suffering from strained muscles in his neck and shoulder. He had a special electronic device attached to his shoulder while he played that helped ease the pain.
With 4:25 remaining in the third quarter and the score tied 6-6, Underwood made his first big play of the game. He intercepted a Garry Harper pass and returned it 64 yards to set up the first touchdown of the contest. That score gave the Tigers a 13-6 advantage.
On South Carolina’s next possession, Underwood struck once again, picking off his second pass of the game and returning it 37 yards to the end zone. That play gave the Tigers a 21-6 lead en route to a 27-6 victory over the Gamecocks.
Underwood’s performance was legendary. Before that game, he had never intercepted a pass at the collegiate level. He finished the game with 17 tackles, which represents 10 percent of his career tackles at Clemson. He added 101 interception return yards, the second-highest total in Tiger history, and his average of 50.5 yards per interception return is best in school history.
He earned conference defensive player-of-the-week honors and Sports Illustrated named him the national defensive player-of-the-week for his efforts. He was also given the R.F. Poole Award, which is presented annually to the best offensive and defensive players of the Clemson vs. South Carolina game. Following the season, he participated in the Blue-Gray All-Star game.
Underwood graduated from Clemson in 1980 and is currently involved with the Edgefield County Wild Turkey Federation.
Billy WingoFootball, Baseball 1973-77 Clemson has long been a breeding ground for dual-sport talent. There are several student-athletes on today’s football roster, including Mark Buchholz, Kyle Parker, and C.J. Spiller, who have been involved in multiple sports during their Clemson careers. One of the premier two-sport athletes in Tiger history was Billy Wingo.
A native of Union, SC, Wingo came to Clemson primarily as a baseball player. He left holding four letters in both baseball and football, becoming one of the first Clemson student-athletes to accomplish that feat in the early years of freshman eligibility.
Wingo’s baseball career was among the most prolific in school history. Twice (1976,77) his teams advanced to the College World Series and twice Wingo was the starting second-baseman in Omaha. He also won a conference tournament championship in 1976.
The Tigers finished the season ranked #5 by Collegiate Baseball in both of Wingo’s final two seasons at Clemson. A career .296 batter, he was a three-year starter at second base and was named a First-Team All-ACC selection in both 1975 and 1977.
In 1977, Wingo set the standard for defensive excellence, committing only three errors at second base for a team that set an ACC record with 26 consecutive wins. He also set school records for runs (114) and steals (41), marks which may still be standing had the NCAA not expanded the schedules to include more games.
Upon his arrival at Clemson, Wingo decided that in addition to baseball, he wanted to walk on to the football squad. He made the team and it did not take him long to earn a scholarship. In fact, during his freshman season, he finished second on the team in both kickoff return and punt return yardage.
Wingo earned a starting spot at cornerback before the 1975 season and spent his final three years in a Tiger uniform as either a cornerback or safety. He developed into a solid player and good leader for the Tigers during the mid-1970s. He became an integral part of the 1974 team that finished with a 7-4 record.
Wingo graduated from Clemson in 1977. He has three sons who have played college baseball, including Brad (South Carolina-Upstate from 2003-06), Scott (current sophomore at South Carolina), and Drew (current sophomore at Presbyterian). As for the elder Wingo, he is currently a salesman for Morrisette Paper Company.
Summaries written by William Qualkinbush, a sophomore from Central, SC and student assistant in the Clemson Sports Information Office.
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