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Greenville Entrepeneur Gives Clemson Athletics $2.7 Million

Oct. 27, 2000

CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson Tigers have a strong new ally: a rhino. Greenville Rhinos arena football team co-owner Leighton M. Cubbage has pledged $2.7 million to Tiger Pride, the fund-raising campaign of the Clemson University athletics program.

Athletic officials were elated by the gift, which will be used to help build and improve sports facilities.

“Obviously, I’m excited and pleased about Leighton’s commitment to Tiger Pride,” said football coach Tommy Bowden. “I’ve been saying since I’ve been here that we need visible commitment that we’re serious about contending for a national championship. This gift shows at least one fan is serious about it. I’m sure others are serious, too, but Leighton has stepped up in a leadership role. My hat’s off to him.”

An irrevocable trust, the gift spotlights Tiger Pride Day Saturday, Oct. 28, when the undefeated Tigers play Georgia Tech in Death Valley. Tiger Pride is the first-ever, five-year, $60 million capital campaign for upgrading university athletic facilities. Improvements already are under way with the renovation of the Fred Hoover Training Room in the lower level of Jervey Athletic Center, the golf practice facility and Memorial Stadium’s east end zone.

The capital projects also include further renovations to Memorial Stadium in the west end zone as well as renovations to Littlejohn Coliseum and Doug Kingsmore Stadium. A new indoor track facility, basketball practice facility and an athletic heritage building will also be built.

“We sincerely appreciate this gift to Tiger Pride by Leighton,” said Bobby Robinson, Clemson athletic director. “This gift is especially meaningful coming from a former football student-athlete. Leighton has invested in the future of Clemson athletics. His generosity will benefit all future student-athletes at Clemson.”

Cubbage, ’77, was a political science major and played linebacker. He also participated in other Clemson organizations, including Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Tiger football historians remember Cubbage as a motivator, a player who brought out the best in his teammates.

That ability to motivate and lead helped Cubbage as he rose in the business world. He has been part of many of the Greenville area’s most notable telecommunication industry ventures, including being founder and president of the Corporate Telemanagement Group. Today, Cubbage is chairman of NewSouth Communications, chief executive officer of Ionosphere Inc., telecommunications firm, chairman of Rhino Automotive and a principal investor in the Rhinos football team.

Cubbage has maintained ties with his alma mater, not only as a donor but also as a member of the Clemson Foundation board, which oversees the university’s $260 million endowment, and the Student Affairs Advisory Board.

A Sumter native, Cubbage is married to Kathi K. Cubbage.