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Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

June 8, 2005

There have been two national media reports since the end of the 2004 football season that list Tommy Bowden among the “Coaches on the Hot Seat” at the Division I level. These reports are pure conjecture by media outlets, based on un-sourced opinion.

Tommy Bowden is not on the “Hot Seat”. I want to make that abundantly clear before going any further.

As the athletic director, I want to be clear about what I expect from our head coach in all sports. First and foremost, the coach must uphold and honor the mission of the University. The coach must be a person of character and represent our university with a high level of integrity, both on and off the field of competition.

Since I have been at Clemson, Tommy Bowden has represented the university with a high level of integrity. Our program has had minimal difficulties off the field, and graduated its players. Two years ago our graduation rate was among the best in the nation, the best for African American student-athletes. The NCAA’s recent APR data is another example of a solid football program from an academic standpoint.

On the field, there have been many accomplishments, including top 10 wins over Florida State, Tennessee and Miami (FL), in the last two years, programs that have won the national championship within the last six years. Clemson has 13 top 10 wins in its history and four have come under Coach Bowden’s watch in the last four years.

On balance, Tommy Bowden is one of the more successful active coaches in college football today. The following accomplishments are especially noteworthy when you consider the state of the programs at Tulane and Clemson from a won-loss standpoint the year before he became head coach at each school:

  • Ranks ninth among winningest active coaches in college football
  • Two time finalist for national coach of the year (1998 and 2000)
  • Three-time conference coach of the year (1998, 1999, 2003)
  • Clemson is second winningest ACC program in league games in his six years
  • Eight bowl eligible teams in eight seasons as a Division I head coach
  • 4 of Clemson’s 13 top 10 wins in history have been gained under Bowden, including three away from home.
  • A 5-1 record against archrival South Carolina

Most of these accomplishments have been gained against a top 25 national schedule (according to the USA Today Sagarin yearly rankings), and in an Atlantic Coast Conference that is among the most competitive in the nation. It will continue to gain strength as the effects of conference expansion are felt.

Our facilities have failed to measure up to those of the schools he has recruited against, but that issue is being addressed presently with the current construction in the West Endzone at Memorial Stadium as well as upgrades that have been completed in the locker rooms in the Jervey Athletic Center, the strength and conditioning center and practice fields. We have already realized the positives of that construction, as evidenced by the top 20 recruiting class Coach Bowden signed this past February.

No program is perfect, and we know we are not where we intend to be. Nevertheless, our football program is very stable. Our over riding goals are to consistently position our program to compete for championships in the new ACC, qualify for BCS bowl berths, and achieve these goals with nationally competitive rates in terms of student-athlete retention and graduation. We are confident in Coach Bowden’s leadership to achieve these goals.

Again, Coach Bowden is not on any “hot seat”.

Terry Don Phillips

Past ColumnsMay 23, 2005April 25, 2005April 4, 2005March 16, 2005February 23, 2005February 15, 2005February 9, 2005February 1, 2005January 25, 2005January 18, 2005January 11, 2005January 6, 2005December 15, 2004December 7, 2004November 30, 2004November 17, 2004November 10, 2004November 3, 2004October 26, 2004October 21, 2004October 11, 2004October 4, 2004