Aug. 20, 2008
No less than four Alabama graduates have served as Clemson head coaches over the years. The list includes the two winningest coaches in Clemson history, and a third who led Clemson to its resurgence in 1977. Clemson has had four coaches named ACC Coach of the Year twice apiece and three are Alabama graduates.
Frank Howard was a member of Alabama’s 1930 undefeated team that downed Washington State in the 1931 Rose Bowl. He then came to Clemson in 1931 when Jess Neely became Clemson head coach. Neely came to Clemson after having served on Wallace Wade’s staff at Alabama.
Howard served as the line coach under Neely at Clemson between the 1931-39 seasons, then became the Clemson head coach in 1940 when Neely left for Rice. Howard was Clemson head coach from 1940-69 and won eight conference championships, two Southern Conference and six ACC. He had a record of 165-118-12, and is still number-one in Clemson history in total victories.
In December of 1969 after Howard retired, Clemson administrators hired another Alabama graduate, Hootie Ingram. Ingram is a 1955 Alabama graduate and he served as Clemson head coach from 1970-72. He posted a 12-21 record. He later served as Athletic Director at Florida State and Alabama.
Charley Pell, a 1961 Alabama graduate, served as Clemson head coach from 1977 through the regular season of 1978. He took the Tigers to the Gator Bowl in 1977, ending an 18-year run without a bowl appearance for the Clemson program. Pell then coached the Tigers to a 10-1 regular season in 1978. He took the head coaching position at Florida in December. He was the ACC Coach of the Year in both 1977 and 1978 and finished with an 18-4-1 record for his two years.
Pell was succeeded by his offensive line coach, Danny Ford, another Alabama graduate. Ford played for Bear Bryant from 1967-69 and graduated from Alabama in 1970. He had a 96-29-4 record at Clemson and the 96 wins rank second to Howard in Clemson history. Clemson was the fifth winningest team in college football in the 1980s and Ford coached every game in that decade.
He coached Clemson to the National Championship in 1981, the only national title in school history. He owns the school record for coaching wins over top 20 teams with 20 and also coached Clemson to a 6-2 record in bowl games. He won five conference titles, all ACC titles in the 1980s. He led Clemson to a 30-2-2 record between 1981-83.
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