Sept. 5, 2007
Clemson, SC – Former Clemson basketball standout Clarke Bynum, one of just three McDonald’s All-Americans to sign with the Tigers program out of high school, died Monday evening at his home in Sumter, SC after a lengthy fight against cancer. He was 45 years old.
A 1984 Clemson graduate, Bynum lettered four years for the Tigers, beginning with the 1980-81 season. He saw his most playing time as a freshman when he averaged 6.8 points a game on a Tigers team that had a 20-11 record and reached the NIT. He was third in the Atlantic Coast Conference among freshmen in playing time that year.
For his career, Bynum played in 92 games, 24 as a starter. He scored 464 career points, a 5.0 average, and had 179 assists and 196 rebounds. He nearly became the first forward in Clemson history to record a triple-double with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a win over Austin Peay his sophomore year. He averaged 20 points per game in a tournament in Brazil in the summer of 1981.
Bynum was one of the top passing forwards in Clemson history. He had 179 assists and just 101 turnovers in his career. The 1.772 assist/turnover ratio is a Clemson career record for a forward. He is eighth in Clemson history in that category, the only forward among the top 10 players listed.
Bynum was a McDonald’s High School All-American after his senior season at Wilson Hall in Sumter, SC and is the only Wilson Hall player to have his number retired. He was on the varsity five years, from 1975 to 1980, and led the Barons to three SCISA state titles and a runner-up spot. The Barons were 126-24 during his career.
In his final game with the Barons, Bynum scored 41 points to lift Wilson Hall to a 69-65 win over Coastal Academy. That marked the Barons’ 30th win of the season, the first time a South Carolina high school basketball team had reached that landmark.
Bynum remains Wilson Hall’s career scoring leader and, after his graduation from Clemson, returned to Sumter to work at his family’s business, Bynum Insurance, and served as chairman of the board at Wilson Hall.
He returned to the spotlight in December 2000, while on a mission trip to Uganda. He and fellow Sumter businessman Gifford Shaw helped flight attendants restrain a disturbed man who rushed the cockpit of their British Airways flight and attempted to crash the plane, saving the 398 passengers.
For their efforts, Bynum and Shaw were awarded the Order of the Palmetto by then-Gov. Jim Hodges. Bynum was also honored at a Clemson men’s basketball game in 2001.
Bynum is survived by his wife, Mary Lynn “Sissy” Satcher Bynum, and four children. The funeral will be held in Sumter, SC at 3:00 PM on Thursday. For more information contact Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home and Crematory in Sumter.
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