Jan. 8, 2007
This week Coach Bowden met with the media to speak about the past season during which he expressed his disappointment and responsibility in how the 2006 season unfolded. Further, he stressed the strong imperative of correcting problem areas in the off-season to get ready for the 2007 season. I know that he and his staff have a tremendous professional work ethic and will turn every stone necessary for improvement.
Having said that, allow me to make some comments. To begin, my commitment first and foremost is to the program. My position on how I evaluate a program, and recommendation to President Barker, is strictly on the basis of what I believe is in the best interest of our program.
To evaluate a program at any point in time – and particularly, when there is disappointment and a feeling of dissatisfaction regarding performance – it is critical that you review all aspects of the program – not just wins and losses. This includes, in addition to where you are competitively, academic standing, student-athlete personal development, recruiting, how the program is represented, etc.
In football, we are proud of the program’s academic and graduation success rates, the personal development of our student-athletes and minimal off-the-field issues, the recruiting of quality talent, and how our coaches and staff represent the University in positive fashion. Further, competitively, the program has been reestablished as an ACC Championship contender over the past two seasons. We know, however, we are not where we aspire to be, and that continues to be our challenge.
As we have seen nationally, every university does not take this position, but it is our position at Clemson. This does not equate to the acceptance of the status quo. I absolutely want and expect very strong competitive performance that allows opportunity to win championships, as does Coach Bowden, but not at the expense of failure to achieve in these other critical aspects of the program. Clemson University expects and deserves success in all these areas.
In summary, I well understand the disappointment. I’m as disappointed as anyone that we didn’t make it to the Orange Bowl. I’m mostly disappointed that an outstanding group of seniors didn’t realize a dream they worked extremely hard to achieve. Even so, what has happened provides opportunity to express that an outstanding program encompasses many areas. Otherwise, we’re no different than professional sports. Therefore, I strongly support Coach Bowden. Ultimately, however, as coaches and administrators, we all understand that meeting our competitive goals is paramount.
In Solid Orange, Terry Don Phillips Athletic Director
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