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Mike O’Cain Hired as Clemson Quarterbacks Coach

Dec. 4, 2000

Clemson, SC–Mike O’Cain, former Head Coach at NC State and most recently offensive coordinator at North Carolina, has joined Tommy Bowden’s staff at Clemson as quarterbacks coach. O’Cain is a 1977 Clemson graduate who was the Tigers MVP as a punter and quarterback in 1976. O’Cain gives Bowden two offensive assistants who have head coaching experience in major Division I conferences. Brad Scott, former head coach at South Carolina (1994-98) is Clemson’s offensive coordinator.

O’Cain replaces Rich Rodriguez as quarterbacks coach. He resigned last week to become head coach at West Virginia.

O’Cain was the head coach at NC State from 1993-99. He posted a 41-40 record during that time and coached the Wolfpack to three bowl appearances. In 1998, he took the Pack to a 7-5 record, including a victory over Florida State, one of just two ACC losses for the Seminoles since they joined the ACC. NC State led the ACC in passing and total offense that year and featured wide receiver Torry Holt, a consensus first-team All-American.

In 1993 he led the Pack to a 7-4 regular season record and a berth in the Hall of Fame Bowl against Michigan. He was the nation’s only rookie head coach to take a program to a bowl game. In 1994, O’Cain took the Pack to a school record tying nine wins, including a 28-24 win over Mississippi State in the Peach Bowl. Only Lou Holtz (1972-75) posted more wins in his first two seasons at NC State than O’Cain’s 16 wins, while his 10 ACC wins during that time are the best ever for an NC State coach in his first two years.

This past year he served as offensive coordinator at North Carolina. His offense gained 4082 yards, including 222 per game passing. He coached Tar Heel quarterback Ronald Curry to an average of 243 yards per game in total offense, 24th best in the nation.

“When you look at our staff and reflect on the season, hiring Mike O’Cain is the best option for improving our team,” said Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden. “His qualifications are pretty obvious. He is a tremendous teacher and with his background at Clemson and with his recruiting base in North and South Carolina, I thought it was the perfect combination of what we need at this point in time.

“I have known Mike for a while and I have always followed his career. Even when I was coaching in the SEC he really got my attention when he was at NC State. Then, in 1998 he beat Florida State. Since I have been at Clemson his offenses have been very productive against us.

“His teams always play extremely hard and I think that is a reflection of his personality. I feel very fortunate to add a coach of his caliber to our staff.”

O’Cain was Clemson’s team MVP in 1976 when he played quarterback and was the team’s top punter. He lettered for the Tigers from 1974-76. He held the Clemson record for yards rushing in a game by a quarterback (140 vs. NC State in 1976) for nearly 20 years until Louis Solomon broke the record in 1994.

O’Cain is a native of Orangeburg, SC and Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, ironically, the school that produced current Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler. O’Cain will be Dantzler’s coach next year. O’Cain is slated to attend the Gator Bowl, but won’t have any coaching duties until the beginning of Spring practice.

“I would first like to thank Tommy for this great opportunity,” said O’Cain. “This could not come at a better time for me personally and my family and I are really excited about coming back to Clemson.

“I grew up only wanting to play for Clemson and I think deep down I have always had an interest in returning one day. I still have many friends at Clemson and any time you can return to your alma mater it is something very special. I am also very familiar with the staff there and I really look forward to working with everyone.”