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From The Desk of Dan Radakovich – Sept. 22, 2014

From The Desk of Dan Radakovich – Sept. 22, 2014

Clemson Family,

I know I’m not alone as I look forward to having a full house in Death Valley next weekend. It’s going to be great for our football team to get back in front of our home crowd for not only a big ACC game against North Carolina, but four of the next five weekends. We knew the first part of the season would be tough, and certainly road games against Georgia and Florida State proved to be just that, but our team fought and battled in both games and now with 75% of the schedule still remaining, we’ll come home and I know we’ll have the best fans in the country there in support.

As you can imagine, the locker room was emotional following the loss Saturday, but while there was no shortage of disappointment, there was an equal measure of positive resolve. This team still has a lot of football left to play. As Dabo said, “seasons don’t end in September” and we still have a chance to put together a special year. We’ll need everyone pulling in the same direction, and we have a great opportunity this weekend to welcome the Clemson Family back to campus for a Saturday night in Death Valley.

Much of the news around the sports world in recent weeks has been about off-the-field issues, specifically a focus on domestic violence issues. With those topics in the forefront, I wanted to give you an update on how we continually educate our student-athletes as we prepare them for life following their time at Clemson. The athletic department, in collaboration with the Offices of Access and Equity, and Violence Prevention provided a Prevention of Sexual Violence/By-Stander Intervention/Title IX training to all student-athletes. Coach Swinney addresses the topics of respectful treatment of women, domestic violence and sexual violence consistently with his players, especially using current affairs as a stage for discussion (as he does for many conduct and behavior issues). Player development and other football staff also have a consistent message on this issue to the players –in formal and informal settings. Dr. Loreto Jackson, our Associate AD for Student-Athlete services addresses the freshmen, as well as each team at the beginning of each academic year and alerts each of them to behavioral expectations and all resources available to them.

The education of our student-athletes and their development as responsible young adults remains the most important task of our department, and we continually work to ensure we’re providing the best services and environment for them to learn.

This weekend, we’ll have the opportunity to recognize some of the men and women who represented Clemson at an outstanding level and helped build and develop the foundation of our athletic program. The 2014 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees of Mike Gandolfo, Nnamdi Nwokocha, Dwight Rainey, Jim Riggs, Duane Ross, Ed Scott and Shekera Weston-Thomas will be honored Friday night and at the football game Saturday, and I hope you join me in welcoming these tremendous ambassadors of Clemson athletics and recognizing their contributions to our university.

On the fields and courts this fall, women’s soccer and volleyball have gotten off to outstanding starts with women’s soccer off to a 7-1-1 record following a tough road setback at second-ranked Virginia Tech last weekend. They return to action Thursday at home against No. 8 North Carolina at 7 p.m. Volleyball is off to an 11-2 start as they finished non-conference competition last weekend, and begin ACC play this weekend at Virginia Friday night.

Men’s soccer is 1-1 in conference action after a hard-fought loss to No. 14 Syracuse last weekend, and they return to action Friday against Wake Forest at 7 p.m. at Historic Riggs Field. The game is designated as Reunion Night, and members of the 1984 National Championship team will be honored during halftime in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Clemson’s first men’s soccer national title.

A lot of positive developments continue on the facilities front. There are many moving parts, but we continue to work through the Clemson and state processes as we move forward. The baseball construction began in August and is progressing daily. You can follow along with the updates here.

Construction on the west endzone bridge and oculus project, as well as suite and club seating renovations on both the north and south sides of Memorial Stadium, are set to begin after the football season. Progress continues at a rapid pace on the planning of the rebuild of Littlejohn Coliseum and plans for the 2015-16 season away from campus.

As you may have seen last week, IPTAY launched a fall membership campaign of “Our Time is Now,” with goals of adding 600 new members and 5,300 renewals by the end of the calendar year. IPTAY will be rewarding every participant, new donors and renewals, with a 10% discount from the official online Clemson store.

The support of our loyal fans, through donations to IPTAY and season ticket sales, provide countless opportunities to young men and women to develop on and off the field and represent our great university. Thank you for your continued support of Clemson Athletics.

Go Tigers,

Dan Radakovich