Position: Chief of Football Administration
Woody McCorvey has been a significant part of the two greatest eras in Tiger football. In the 1980s he was on the staff of hall of fame coach Danny Ford, and helped Clemson to a 60-19-3 record, three ACC titles and four bowl wins. He was on the staff of five Clemson teams that finished in the final top 20 of the AP poll.
Now, McCorvey is back at Clemson, and Dabo Swinney would be the first to say how important he has been in contributing to Clemson’s recent run of eight straight seasons of 10+ wins and a final top-25 finish.
“He is my national security advisor,” said Swinney. “My experience with him dates to my days as a player at Alabama when he was my position coach. He coached at Clemson in the 1980s under Danny Ford and knows all about our winning tradition.”
The 2020 season is his 43rd in college football as either a coach or an administrator. He came back to Clemson for the 2009 season, Swinney’s first full year, and he has helped him bring the Tigers to a level of consistent excellence that culminated in national championships following the 2016 and 2018 seasons.
With Ford’s induction in 2017, McCorvey has now worked for three coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame. He has also been in significant coaching roles with Gene Stallings and Phil Fulmer. He has worked for four national championship coaches in Ford, Fulmer, Stallings and Swinnney.
Swinney has a 126-28 record as head coach since McCorvey joined his staff. That includes eight wins over top-10 teams in bowl games the last eight years. The Tigers have won six ACC titles, eight division titles and posted 10 bowl wins in just 11 years.
McCorvey serves as the primary liaison between Swinney and the athletic and IPTAY administrations. He also oversees the management of the football administrative offices.
He supervises the football budget and works with the academic staff to oversee that important area. Clemson has finished in the top-10 percent of all FBS programs in APR scores in eight of the last nine years, one of only three schools to make that claim.
As a Clemson wide receivers and tight ends coach from 1983-89, he recruited future Pro Bowlers Donnell Woolford and Chester McGlockton. He also coached NFL players Keith Jennings and K.D. Dunn.
McCorvey coached at the Division I level for 26 years and went to a bowl game 17 of those seasons. He coached or signed 36 players who went on to a professional football career as well.
From 1990-08, he coached in the SEC every year, including each of the last five at Mississippi State, where he served as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator in addition to coaching the quarterbacks. He was a big reason the Bulldogs won eight games, including wins over Auburn, Alabama, and Mississippi, in 2007. He also coached running back Anthony Dixon, who was a sixth-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2010, and Kyle Love, a free-agent signee.
McCorvey coached at Tennessee for five years (1999-03). With him heading the running game, the Volunteers had a 46-14 record. He helped guide Tennessee to the 2000 Fiesta Bowl, 2001 Cotton Bowl, 2002 Citrus Bowl, and 2002 and 2003 Peach Bowls. Tennessee won three consecutive New Year’s Day Bowl games from 2000-02 as well.
Under McCorvey’s leadership, Tennessee maintained the school’s reputation of having an outstanding rushing attack. The Volunteers led the SEC in rushing in 1999, averaging 191.3 yards per game. His work helped tailback Travis Stephens pace the SEC in rushing yards (1,464) in 2001.
One year prior, McCorvey helped tailback Travis Henry finish second in the league and 14th in the nation in rushing yards (1,314). Another of his protegés was Jamal Lewis, who finished in the top five on the Tennessee career rushing list and was the No. 5 overall pick of the 2000 NFL draft. Lewis had an All-Pro career in the NFL.
Prior to joining the staff at Tennessee, McCorvey worked one season at South Carolina, where he served as the wide receivers coach in 1998 under former Tiger assistant coach Brad Scott.
McCorvey took the South Carolina job following an eight-year stay at Alabama from 1990-97. He served seven seasons as its wide receivers coach and the 1996 campaign as offensive coordinator. He was the assistant head coach in 1997 as well.
Alabama had five top-25 final rankings in his tenure, including three seasons in the top five. The Crimson Tide won the 1992 national title with McCorvey serving as wide receivers coach and Swinney as one of his student-athletes. That season culminated with a 34-13 win over heavily-favored Miami (Fla.) in the Sugar Bowl. Current Tiger assistant head coach Danny Pearman was also on that staff.
During the 1990-96 era, Alabama posted a 70-16-1 record and played in six bowl games. With McCorvey at the controls of the offense in 1996, Alabama finished 10-3, including a win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl.
Alabama’s players flourished under his guidance. As offensive coordinator, running back Shaun Alexander established many school records and later went on to a Pro Bowl career with the Seattle Seahawks. In 1993, David Palmer established school records for catches and receiving yards along with earning first-team All-America honors. Palmer was third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, the highest finish in history for an Alabama player at the time.
From 1979-82, he served as an assistant coach at Alabama A&M and helped that program to the No. 6 rushing offense in Division II in 1981 after finishing 11th in the nation in scoring offense in 1980. McCorvey began his college coaching career at North Carolina Central in 1978.
McCorvey began his coaching career with a six-year stint (1972-77) at J.M. Tate Senior High School in Florida. A quarterback at Alabama State from 1968-71, McCorvey earned his bachelor’s degree from Alabama State in 1972 and a Master’s degree from West Florida in 1977.
He was the recipient of the 2015 AFCA Outstanding Achievement Award for his contributions to college football. In 2013, he was on the Rose Bowl Advisory Committee and returned to that role in 2017. He was a member of the College Football Playoff Advisory Committee in 2014-15 as well.
In 2010, McCorvey was inducted into the Atmore (Ala.) Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2020 as part of an induction class that included Sylvester Croom, with whom he coached at Mississippi State.
The Atmore, Ala., native is married to the former Ann Brown. The couple has a son, Marlon, daughter-in-law Brooke, and grandson, Beau.
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