By Philip Sikes // Athletic Communications
For many employees of Clemson Athletics, Saturday’s home football opener against SC State represents a long day of work. For others, it’s a chance to spend time with family and friends while enjoying the town’s favorite pastime. For Bud Pough, it’s a little bit of both.
The department’s compliance services coordinator will handle his usual duties, assisting with the management of recruiting visits. If he wants to visit family, however, he’ll have to relocate to the section behind the Bulldogs’ bench. You see, his father is Oliver “Buddy” Pough, SC State’s head coach.
“It’ll be another day at the office,” he said. “I won’t really have access to him before the game, but we’ll talk after.”
Buddy Pough is in his 13th season as SC State’s head coach, leading the Bulldogs to a stellar 98-43 overall record during that time. His oldest son, Bud is in his second year working with the compliance services office. Last year, when the Tigers and Bulldogs met on Sept. 7, Bud had only been working in Clemson about three weeks.
He said he’s exchanged a few text messages with his father, but that the two haven’t really talked leading up to Saturday’s game. Last year, Bud visited him at the team hotel so he could spend time with his baby granddaughter.
It isn’t the first time Bud has been part of the opposition, for lack of a better term. Bud was zoned for Ridge View High School and in 1996, his team took on his father’s powerful Fairfield Central team twice.
“We lost the first game 63-0 in the regular season, and 54-0 in the lower state championship,” he laughed. “I was only in 10th grade and not playing much at the time, so he didn’t have to feel too bad about beating up on me I guess.”
Buddy is a little unique when it comes to success on the gridiron. He’s done it at multiple stops, but all within 50 miles of one another. After successful stints as an assistant at SC State and as head coach at Fairfield and Keenan High School, he was running backs coach at the University of South Carolina from 1997 to 2001 under Brad Scott and Lou Holtz.
Bud, who grew up in Columbia, admits it’s a little ironic he ended up working for Clemson.
“I was going to South Carolina games for years before my dad even started working there,” he said. “Clemson gave me an opportunity, and I’m a Clemson guy now. That was not a difficult choice at all.”
Bud went on to play wide receiver for The Citadel, and as a sophomore in 2000 the Bulldogs played in Death Valley. He got in on the field goal block team.
“I didn’t block anything,” he laughed. “But I remember being very excited to play here. That was during the Woody Dantzler years. I was kind of a closet Clemson fan.”
He’s also a fan of his father’s program. In 12 seasons, Buddy Pough’s teams have won two outright MEAC championships and shared three others, while making four trips to the FCS playoffs.
Bud glows with pride when he thinks about his father’s accomplishments.
“He’s done things the right way,” he said. “He takes a lot of pride in the community he’s from.”
And there’s no doubt his father takes pride in Bud’s growing career in athletic administration as well. Perhaps the two will have a chance to catch up Friday night at the hotel before both ready for a busy Saturday of work, albeit on opposite sides.
December 3, 2021