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Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

Current Issues With Dr. Phillips

Oct. 11, 2004

Why is Solid Orange so important?

It begins with the rich tradition and legacy we have at this school. That applies not just to athletics, but with the university as a whole. For instance, the military heritage at Clemson trained leadership here which subsequently made such an impact on this state and this country. Another example of that tradition is the dignified fashion in which Clemson was integrated.

Solid Orange is a tangible symbol of the pride that this university is all about — not just athletics. It is a re-gathering of our thoughts and feelings about this university.

It is extremely important for the young men and women who are participating to see that show of pride and support in the stands, regardless of what the sport is.

It is also meaningful for would-be students when they come on our campus to visit when they are deciding which university they want to attend. The students we attract at Clemson are also visiting other Atlantic Coast Conference schools as well as SEC schools.

People want to go where there is a great sense of pride and tremendous spirit. Spirit catches you.

When you look at recruiting student-athletes, there is not a better recruiting tool than turning on your television to see an athletic event — be it football game, basketball game, baseball game or whatever it may be — and see Solid Orange in the stands. That says something about that university.

When prospective student-athletes come on site and experience it, I can tell you from first-hand experience that is a very significant factor in how people feel about a university.

It was interesting for us to go to Texas this year and come away a little mesmerized with A&M. It is a class school. I grew up in East Texas and have a lot of Aggies as my friends. I played football against them when I was at Arkansas.

Fortunately, when I played they were not very good. I specifically recall a game in College Station where we were very good team and A&M wasn’t. We were up 35-40 points going into the last quarter. What we saw three weeks ago at A&M is the same thing they were doing then despite getting beat and getting beat on a fairly regular basis.

That’s what we want to re-energize here: our tradition, our legacy and for people to have an inordinate amount of pride. We want Clemson people to understand the impact it has on people’s minds — young as well as older people. It causes older people to reflect on when they were students here and why they have feelings about Clemson.

It makes us feel better even when times are difficult. No one likes to struggle. There are some who will leave when we struggle. We hope, though, we never forget why we love Clemson.

That’s why the One Clemson center in the WestZone is so important. People may think that’s just a football facility. It’s not.

The One Clemson Center will tell the history of this university. While athletics is a part of that, there are too many great leaders and too many great accomplishments not to reflect on the greatness of this university. That’s what the One Clemson will be about.

Solid Orange — wearing orange on game days and on Fridays — ties into that One Clemson center because it is something we can do on a weekly basis to reflect on the greatness of this university.

People want to be around good spirit. You can feel it, even if you are not sure what causes it. That’s what we want people to feel when they come to Clemson. Clemson is a great place. We have a great future before us.

That’s the essence of Solid Orange and why it is so important.

Past ColumnsOctober 4, 2004