June 7, 2001
Below are George Bennett’s answers to the selected questions that you submitted this past week to “Ask The Tigers”. ClemsonTigers.com would like to thank you for all of your questions submitted. We would also like to thank George for his time and sincere effort with “Ask The Tigers”. _____________________________________________________________
Mr. Bennett, How is the progress going with the stadium construction? Will it be completely ready by the UCF game?Jackson Foy Charleston, SC
According to schedule everything will be completed by at least August 15th and we should be ready to go. I think the fans are going to be really proud of it from all I’ve seen. I think it is going to be very fan friendly, and it will just be something that I think we are really all looking forward to having, and something that will give us a lot of class.
Mr. Bennett, Has IPTAY considered broadening the spring meetings to more of Florida and other states that don’t border South Carolina?Bill Hendricks Orlando, FL
Actually, we went to Florida a couple of times this year. The president made a swing down through six cities, and we have taken football coaches down there sometime in the past. This year it just didn’t work out because we had so many meetings in the state of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. But, Florida is certainly one of our prime areas and I think next year we will probably start going back down to Florida again.
Mr. Bennett, The football Heritage Building appears to be a go, but will we have an official answer anytime soon? It seems like there hasn’t been any news on this in quite some time.Ronald Reed Georgetown, SC
The football Heritage Building has taken much longer than any of us have anticipated, but this is a very complex building, and I think when everyone has a chance to see what is going to be in there it will be something that they will all be excited about. I know that this is “top’s” on coach Bowden’s priority list, and when your dealing with the state and when your dealing with bureaucrats it just take a little bit longer sometimes to get things done. This is one of these buildings that we really want to look good, because not only is it going to be an athletic heritage center, but I think it will be something that the entire university can use to it’s best advantage. After the construction that will be held coming from Seneca on Highway 93 near the duel bridges is complete, when people come across the bridge there and see these buildings and the coliseum, in President Barker’s words the feeling that he wants there to be is “Wow, look at those new buildings, this is Clemson and be real proud of it.” So, I think that is the thing we are going to be looking at and our friends will be really proud of.
Mr. Bennett, Once this Tiger Pride campaign is complete, what will be on tap next for IPTAY?Jon Young Greenville, SC
Well, the Tiger Pride campaign is going to be ongoing. We have a lot of money to raise for Tiger Pride and it is going to take us a couple of years to do that. Then I think after we finish that we’ll continue to try to work on our endowment programs. We would really and truly like to completely endow all of our positions. But, I really think that is going to be sometime in the future, and is certainly going to give us something to work for in the next couple years. Tiger Pride is coming along real well. As you said we have a lot of money to raise there, but it will be complete, and when it is complete we will just go on to the next level.
Mr. Bennett, How can Clemson compete in facilities with the Floridas and Michigans of the world. Both have two to three times more students/alumni? I am continually impressed with how well we do while keeping our student body at such an appealing size, but can we keep up in the future as facilities play such an important role in recruiting?Ben Murrell Raleigh, NC
The size of Clemson as opposed to the Michigan State’s, Tennessee’s, and Florida’s have always been something of an amazement to Clemson people, and not only to Clemson people but to people outside. How can a school located where we are in the state of South Carolina with a relatively small alumni base do as well as we can do? There is not a week that passes that some school doesn’t call us and ask us what we are doing as far as IPTAY is concerned. We have been the leader for so many years. It is just one of those things that I believe goes back to the military days when we lived together as one unit. The closeness of the Clemson student body at that time has just kind of carried over. We talk about the Clemson experience so much, and this is a Clemson experience. It is something that people just love. It is an opportunity for people to participate in a program that is vital to the university and people really want to be a part of something that is successful like IPTAY, and we are definitely successful. So, from that standpoint, I think we will be able to continue competing from now on with whatever we do.
Mr. Bennett, Is IPTAY required to get approval from the university when it sets its projections. For instance, does the University ever say “you cannot try to raise that much money because we need those alumni to contribute to the library, academic scholarships, etc.”?Jonathan Baggly Augusta, GA
We have always had a very good relationship with the university. Certainly, as President Barker wants us to be “One Clemson”, and we are “One Clemson”. I think that we in IPTAY have always been supportive of everything the university does. We continue to give money to the library, we continue to give money to the student body, and we continue to give money for academic scholarships. We have the largest endowment on campus in our IPTAY scholarship fund. So, we are always trying to be part of Clemson and we are part of Clemson. I think this is something we are proud of. We don’t have very much jealousy between any other schools on the university. But you know if there is a dollar lying on the table your going to try to get it. Sometimes the alumni gets it, sometimes the library gets it, but whoever gets it knows it’s always for Clemson and that certainly satisfies us.
Mr. Bennett, Why don’t $100 donors get parking privileges anymore?Brandt Fletcher Lake City, SC
In the last three or four years we have lost right at about 2,000 parking spaces with all the construction that has been going on in and around the stadium, in addition to the expansion of Fike Fieldhouse, and the new dormitories being built. So, it’s just become a space issue. As well as we would like to give everybody spaces it is just not possible. A $100 dollar member gets about $45 dollars worth of benefits anyway from the Orange & White, mailings and those sorts of things. So, $100 dollar parking came down to something we just couldn’t continue to do. That group certainly is important to us, because most of our IPTAY members come in at the $100 dollar level so we don’t want to lose any of them. We just can’t give and do everything for everybody.
Mr. Bennett, Do you have any desire to be an AD again?John Heard Greenville, SC
That is something that has past. It has kind of come, gone, and went. I had my one chance and I enjoyed it. I’m enjoying what I am doing now. I think I am a success at what I am doing now, and for the remaining time that I have in athletics at Clemson University I hope I can continue doing the same good job that I have done in the past. So, the answer to your question is no.
Mr. Bennett, Of all your grandchildren, which is the cutest?Jeff Bennett Clemson, SC
There is no way that I can answer this last question because all of them are cute, and all of them are great grandchildren!
Next week’s guest on “Ask The Tigers” will be All-American center Kyle Young.
Note: “Ask The Tigers” will take next week off. However, feel free to leave your questions for Kyle now, and he will post his answers on Thursday, June 21st.
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