Aug. 31, 1998
Clemson and Furman have been doing battle on the football field for over 100 years. The rivalry has brought about a lot of similarites and common coaches, athletes and administrators. Here is a list of common denominators between the two programs that are just 30 miles apart.
*Furman Head Coach Bobby Johnson, a 1973 Clemson graduate, will coach against his alma mater when Furman this afternoon. Johnson became Furman head coach in 1994, the same year Tommy West began his Clemson coaching career. He has been at Furman for 20 of the last 22 years, the only two years he has not been at Furman, he has been at Clemson.
In 1981, Johnson served as the academic advisor for Clemson’s National Championship team. He then returned to Furman to be its defensive coordinator and remained with the Paladins until 1992. During that period Furman had a 91-31-3 record, claimed five Southern Conference titles and had eight top 20 seasons at the Division I-AA level. In 1988 Furman allowed just 9.7 points per game, best in the nation, and a big reason Furman won the I-AA National Championship.
In 1993, Johnson returned to Clemson to serve as defensive coordinator under Ken Hatfield. The Tigers had an 8-3 regular season record that season and ranked 15th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 16 points pe game. The Tigers forced 28 turnovers and ranked ninth in the nation in turnover ratio.
As a player, Johnson led the Tigers in interceptions in 1971 and 1972 and he was academic All-ACC each season. He started all 22 games for the Tigers those two seasons. He had seven interceptions over his final two years, including two against Maryland in 1971. He spent his sophomore year as a wide receiver and had 18 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
*Bob Smith is a common denominator as a coach for both Universities and in fact is in the Hall of Fame for both schools. He was a star player for Furman between 1931-33 and later served as Furman’s Head Coach between 1946-47. He served the Clemson Athletic Department for 28 years as a football and baseball coach. He was the head coach of Clemson’s first ACC Championship baseball team in 1954. He became an assistant football coach under Frank Howard in 1950 and in is first year as line coach the Tigers were undefeated and defeated Miami (FL), 15-14 in the Orange Bowl. He was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 1988.
*Art Baker is also a common denominator on the list of coaches for both schools. Baker was the 17th head coach in Furman history and layed the ground work for the success the Furman program has had over the last 25 years. He hired Dick Sheridan, Jimmy Satterfield and Bobby Johnson as assistant coaches and all went on to become head coaches at Furman. He served as an assistant coach under Frank Howard at Clemson from 1965-69.
*Clemson and Furman met in the first football game in Clemson history. The Tigers were victorious in that game played in Greenville, 14-6.
*Current Clemson athletic director Bobby Robinson is a 1968 Furman graduate.
*Clemson executive secretary of IPTAY, George Bennett, was the athletic director at Furman between 1986-89. That includes the season that the Paladins won the Division I-A National Champion ship (1988). He was had nothing but record breaking years in terms of fund-raising at Clemson and was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame and won the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1986.
*Furman defensive end Patrick Garner has all kinds of ties with both schools in multiple sports. The junior could become the only person in Clemson sports history to play basketball for Clemson, then play against the Tigers in basketball and football later in his career.
Garner began his athletic career at Clemson in 1995-96 when he came to Clemson on a basketball scholarship. He was part of the Tiger class than included Terrell McIntyre, Harold Jamison, Tom Wideman and Tony Christie, the four players who will be the corps of Larry Shyatt’s first Clemson team.
After seeing limited playing time in 1995-96, he decided to transfer to Furman. Last year he saw his first action for the Paladins, including a starting assignment against Clemson in Littlejohn Coliseum.
This past summer he decided to give football a try, a sport he has not played since high school. Now, if he plays against the Tigers in Death Valley he will become the first person to play for Clemson, then face the Tigers in two different sports.
*Furman’s 4,000th point in history was scored by Bob King, in 1935 in a 8-6 victory over Clemson. King went on to become Furman Athletic Director. The 7,000th point in Furman history was also scored against Clemson, on a field goal by Riley Cordell in a 44-3 Clemson victory in 1962.
*A.P. Dizzy McLeod was Clemson line coach in 1927 and among his protege’s was Clemson’s first All-American, center O.K. Pressley. At Furman, he was an outstanding player and coach. He was captain of the Furman team in 1922 and in 1928 became Furman’s Head Basketball Coach. In fact, his 69-17 record is still the best in Furman history. In 1932 he became Furman’s head football coach. In 1935 he coached Furman to an 8-1 record, a team that outscored the opposition by 232-44. McLeod is the last Furman coach to defeat Clemson (1936).
*On October 8, 1960, Clemson and Furman shared the same uniform pants. In one of the most bizzare uniform stories in college sports history, both teams wore a special water repellent uniform that day. Clemson wore the pants in defeating Virginia 21-7 in the afternoon, then the pants were shipped to Furman, who wore them for a night game against William & Mary. Furman defeated William & Mary that night in Greenville, 25-23. Furman Head Coach Bob King said after his victory, “After those big Clemson boys got out of those pants, some of our guys had a hard time making them stay up and we had to tape the legs of the pants for several players.” Still, the pants defeated two teams from Virginia on the same day.
*Both teams were outstanding in the decade of the 1980s and claimed their only National Championship in that decade. Clemson won the Division I National Championship in 1981 and Furman won the I-AA National title in 1988. Furman was the second winningest program in Division I-AA in the 1980s with a record of 95-25-4. Clemson was the fifth winningest program in Division I-A, posting a record of 86-25-4.
March 14, 2019