Tom Mahaffey, 80, the first of four consecutive brothers to play basketball for Clemson between 1959-70, died on Feb. 12, at his home in Alabama.
Mahaffey followed his father’s footsteps and enrolled at Clemson in the fall of 1958, and played on the freshman basketball team of 1958-59 (freshmen were not eligible for the varsity in those days). He became a starter for the Tigers varsity in 1959-60 and 1960-61, then was the sixth man for the 1961-62 season. He averaged 7.5 points and 7.5 rebounds as a sophomore, 13.1 points and 11.3 rebounds as a junior and 8.0 points and 6.7 rebounds as a senior.
Mahaffey finished with 728 points (9.6 per game) and 649 rebounds (8.5 per game) for his career. He was Clemson’s career rebounding leader when he graduated in 1962 and is still 18th in school history in total rebounds. His 8.5 per game average remains ninth best in Clemson history.
Brother Donnie Mahaffey broke Tom’s record two years later with 666. Brothers Randy Mahaffey (706) and Richie Mahaffey (707), each broke the record in subsequent years.
As stated previously, Tom Mahaffey averaged a double-double as a junior in 1960-61. The only Clemson players to average a double-double since he graduated were his brothers, Donnie, Randy and Richie, and future Clemson NBA players Tree Rollins (4 seasons), Horace Grant (2), Dale Davis (2) and Sharone Wright (2). No Clemson player has averaged a double-double for a season since Wright in 1993-94.
Mahaffey helped Clemson to the ACC Championship game in 1962, one of just two seasons Clemson has reached the league title game.
The four Mahaffey brothers are the highest scoring brother combination in ACC history. They finished with 3,555 points and 2,728 rebounds.
Tom earned his undergraduate degree from Clemson in 1962, and a master’s in textile engineering from Georgia Tech years later. He also coached the Georgia Tech freshman basketball team during that time.
After Georgia Tech, Tom worked at West Point Pepperill in Lanett, Alabama. In 1968, Tom and brother Don started Ply Mart, a plywood paneling company in Decatur Georgia. Brothers Randy and Richie later joined. Ply Mart expanded to include other building materials with businesses in over 30 locations and over 1100 employees.
Tom is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nancy Lee Daniel Mahaffey as well as their three children Tommy Mahaffey (Margarita), Danny Mahaffey and Ila Jo Mahaffey Worthen (Thacher) and four grandchildren-Kade, Elle, Olivia Worthen, and Joshua Mahaffey. He is also survived by his three younger brothers Don, Randy and Rich.
It is our wish to honor Tom with memorial gifts to be made to The First United Methodist Church of LaGrange marked “missions” (401 Broad Street LaGrange GA 30240) and The Pocket Cross Ministry (ThePocketCrossMinistry.org).
The immediate family will have a “Celebration of Life” service Sunday, February 21 at 1:30 pm that can be viewed online at lagrangefumc.org or on their Facebook page at LaGrange First UMC.