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Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

Oct. 11, 2005

The question has been asked of me: Why should I feel good about our future after our loss to Wake Forest? Good question. The purpose of this column is simply to answer that question. The following are the reasons why I am optimistic about the future of our football program:

Since mid-season 2003, we have beaten teams ranked no. 3, no.6, no. 10, and no. 17 as well as winning the Peach BowlChampionship. In this current season, we have taken ninth-rankedMiami into triple overtime and 17th-ranked Boston College intoovertime. Our issue is one of consistency. We already know we canand will play with the best, however, our goal is to more fullydevelop our overall consistency. We now play in a premier footballleague. When we take care of business in this conference, thingswill fall into place on the national level. That wasn’t necessarilythe case in the previous alignment. We are now in a greatconference in all sports. Our team plays hard until the lastwhistle. We were the only team in the country to have each of ourfirst five games decided by seven points or less and all five weredecided in the last minute. That speaks strongly to the attitudeand character of our players and coaches. Those that have playedand coached at this level well understand that this intangible is adirect reflection on how the players feel and believe about thecoaches and their team. Within the last year and a half, we havebegun to address substantive infrastructure issues that havehindered the football program. The pieces of the facility puzzleare starting to come together. We have many wonderful supportersthat understand the necessity of this issue. Many individuals andfamilies have generously provided substantial resources, inaddition to their annual giving to the IPTAY Scholarship Fund, inorder to get the WestZone project started. We are also veryendebted to the IPTAY Board of Directors, who have been veryinstrumental in this effort. These individuals, families and theIPTAY Board of Directors know that we need to work with a greatsense of urgency. We are very grateful to each and every one.Recruiting: In 2004, we had a good class. We are currently playing13-15 freshmen or red-shirt freshmen this season. We are alsohaving another outstanding recruiting class for 2006. Of ESPN’s Top101 High School Players for 2006, only three schools have morecommitments than Clemson. The 2005 recruiting class and whatappears to be happening in the 2006 recruiting class is strongevidence of the confidence that high school coaches, players, andparents have in the direction of our football program. This bodesextremely well for our future. Recruiting is the heartbeat of thefuture. Our football program is very strong when it comes to NCAAcompliance. We have had no significant NCAA issues for many yearsthat will detract in any fashion from building our program for thefuture. We have had minimal off-the-field conduct issues with ourteam. Certainly, we do have flare-ups and we do and will haveissues, but underCoach Bowden’s direction, these have been minimal.Our coaching staff is adjusting in positive fashion to thedirection the University has taken with regard to stronger academicstandards and the new curriculum structure. Vickery Hall is beingretooled to successfully work with the changing academicenvironment on campus. Also very importantly, under Coach Bowden’sleadership, the football program has performed very wellacademically. For example, two years ago football was ranked 11thin the nation for graduation rates among 117 Division 1-A footballprograms. And finally, we have tremendous people that support theoverall program. When the West Zone is completed, we will have oneof the most outstanding on-campus stadiums in America and what wealready know, a tremendous environment that people and playersenjoy being a part of.The above factors are why I am optimistic andfeel good about the future.In Solid Orange,Terry DonPhillipsAthletic Director

Past ColumnsOctober 4, 2005September 26, 2005September 21, 2005September 5, 2005August 23, 2005August 4, 2005July 26, 2005June 28, 2005May 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