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Clemson’s Tommy West Fired

November 18, 1998

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Clemson coach Tommy West, his team struggling through a 2-8 season, was fired Wednesday but will stay on to coach Saturday’s game against South Carolina.

Clemson will honor the $325,000 buyout clause in West’s contract.

West, who was on the practice field, could not immediately be reached for comment.

“We appreciate the time, energy and effort that coach West and his staff have given Clemson and we wish him the best in the future,” athletic director Bobby Robinson said in a statement.

Among the names mentioned as a successor have been Tulane’s Tommy Bowden, Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer and former coach Danny Ford, who brought the Tigers their only national championship in 1981.

At the end of last season, West was given a contract extension through 2001 and a $5,000 base salary increase. But the terms made it easier for the school to buy out the contract if things did not work out.

Coming into this season, West was 27-20 and had taken Clemson to three straight bowl games. But it has been the Tigers’ worst season in 23 years, and as the losses have mounted, so have fans’ calls for West’s departure.

West, who is 34-35 overall, came to Clemson in November 1993 after one year at Tennessee-Chattanooga.

His first game as Clemson coach was in the Peach Bowl, just a month after accepting the job. The Tigers beat Kentucky 14-13, but Clemson has lost its past three bowl games.