May 22, 2001
Dean Coleman readily acknowledges he did not know much about IPTAY when he graduated from Clemson in 1951. From his perspective at the time, there was not much need.
Coleman was employed in a position in which he traveled a great deal. Living far from Clemson, there was little use in joining IPTAY as far as football games were concerned because he could not use season tickets.
As the years progress, he developed a simple game plan for getting tickets when he and his wife, Ann, were able to attend a few games. The Colemans would arrive at Death Valley early on game day. Dean would work his way around the stadium with two fingers held high. Any erstwhile ticket peddler knew immediately upon seeing him what that meant: this person was in the market for two tickets. Coleman honed the art of ticket purchasing on game day to a fine art. In fact, going toe-to-toe with a ticket seller about the price of tickets was just about as enjoyable as seeing the football game, particularly if Clemson did not play well that day. Back in the seventies as Clemson’s football resurgence was taking place and tickets were growing less plentiful. Coleman’s negotiating skills were sharpened to new levels.
Dean soon encountered those of like mind on Saturday mornings. One seasoned, yet helpful, marketer sidled up to Coleman one day. Coleman was wearing the uniform of the day: orange polyester blazer, Tiger paw tie and dress shirt–just the look an enterprising hawker likes to see.
The hawker whispered to Coleman, “Hey mister, you look like a $1,000 donor. You’re not going to get a ticket at a reasonable price looking like that. You’re going to pay list price if you don’t get that jacket off.” Coleman heeded the advice. Meanwhile, Ann was growing weary of the whole ritual. It came to head in the late 70s when a Clemson-South Carolina game was sold out. With kickoff imminent, Coleman reverted from two fingers aloft to hands clasped under his chin in prayer. A ticket emerged at the last minute. As a result, Ann sat in the stadium, while Dean went to Littlejohn to watch the game on closed circuit television.
After the ordeal, Ann put her foot down: order season tickets. More than 25 years after his graduation, Coleman had a new appreciation for an IPTAY membership.
And the Colemans have been making up for lost time ever since. The Simpsonville couple recently made a contribution to IPTAY’s Tiger Pride capital fund-raising campaign.
It was not their first gift to IPTAY. The Colemans previously created two IPTAY Endowments.
“We are grateful to our friends Dean and Ann Coleman for this significant contribution to our Tiger Pride program,” said IPTAY Executive Director George Bennett at a dinner recognizing the Colemans last week. “It is the first three-peat IPTAY has had.” IPTAY’s Bert Henderson credits Coleman with helping IPTAY streamline the contribution process, which was initially cumbersome and lengthy.
Dean recalled: “The first time in working with Bert and JoVanna King, they gave me a thick book to read and told me I needed to consult with an attorney.
“I thought here I am trying to give them some money and I need an attorney.” Coleman worked with Henderson and King of Clemson’s Development office to make the process user friendly.
“It’s amazing how much easier the second and third gifts were. Now they just send you a 3×5 card and say sign at the bottom line,” Coleman joked.
The Colemans, who are avid tennis players, said they are grateful to Clemson for Dean’s “quality education which enables us to do this.” Ann, who is known for her feisty spirit at football games, said she is happy to see Tommy Bowden “put the excitement back into Clemson football.” Henderson presented an autographed picture of Bowden to the Colemans at the dinner. Ring of Honor recipient and former Tiger linebacker Jeff Davis praised the Colemans for their gift and closed the evening with an acappella version of Clemson’s alma mater.
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