Nov. 5, 2001
For the first time in Clemson history, the Tiger athletic department launched a five-year $63 million athletics facilities improvement campaign. The campaign has pledges of $23.5 million to date through donations and Leadership Gifts from former Clemson athletes such as Leighton Cubbage and Billy Poe. Tiger Pride has funded Memorial Stadium and athletic facility upgrades that began in 2000.
The campaign is helping the university’s athletic facilities roar into the 21st century. The improvements made will add to the pride that Clemson fans have toward their school and athletic teams. George Bennett, the executive director of IPTAY said it perfectly, “We want to take our facilities to the next level and show our pride by giving to this project.”
There has been much progress since the campaign began, including a $1.6 million Memorial Stadium upgrade of the east end zone that has already been completed. Fans can enjoy a new, clearer sound system, new brick and wrought iron fencing, and a new display for “The Rock.”
Included is the replacement of asphalt with concrete and brick pavers, adjusted grades to meet American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, and an expanded area for TV and service truck parking. On the south concourse of Memorial Stadium, $2.5 million has brought fans new restrooms, new concession stands, new graphics and signage, new lighting, novelty stands, ticket booths and grading, paving and fencing to match the east end zone. A $4 million renovation will match the north concourse with the south concourse with completion expected prior to the 2002 football season.
New lights for Memorial Stadium are planned to be installed by August 2002 and are estimated to cost $400,000. They will provide sufficient foot-candle levels for televised games without supplementary lighting. At $1 million, the Memorial Stadium/Frank Howard Field upgrade is scheduled to start in December 2001 and be completed by July 2002, which will bring the existing surface up to current accepted standards for Division I football competition. The work will include removing crown and establishing a flat playing surface, establishing a sand-based growing medium to facilitate drainage, installation of new grade specific irrigation, new brick and wrought iron fence at the east end zone and brick facia on field walls. The renovation of the existing field dictates replacement of a fifty year-old storm sewer and sanitary sewer lines that serve all of campus and run directly underneath the playing surface.
One of the more exciting projects Tiger Pride is funding is the Athletic Heritage Center. At an estimated $20 million, it promises to be one of the best facilities in the country. It will offer players a locker room complete with showers and toilets, a state-of-the-art weight room, a training and taping area, an equipment area, a team meeting area and a museum with Clemson athletic memorabilia on display. Programming and schematic design is in progress with construction to begin in January 2003.
“The Heritage Center will benefit all 19 sports at Clemson, in addition to providing a first-class facility for the football program,” said Clemson Athletic Director Bobby Robinson. “Olympic sport coaches will move into the McFadden Center, which will provide each coach a private office. This will also provide more office space for administrative functions such as sports information, video and compliance. Additionally, a weight room in the Heritage Center will free up the existing weight room for our Olympic Sports, benefiting all 600 student-athletes. Finally, the museum will be a showcase for all of our athletic programs and for the tradition established in these programs.”
Head Football Coach Tommy Bowden is particularly enthusiastic about this project. “To have a championship program you need championship facilities,” he said. “The Heritage Center will greatly enhance our program in general, but it will specifically be a huge boost to recruiting.” With all its amenities, the Heritage Center is sure to impress recruits as well as fans, current athletes, and coaches. Fans are not the only ones who have experienced the improvements Tiger Pride donations have brought. Athletes have enjoyed the renovations as well. Among the projects completed is a $750,000 athletic training room improvement which includes a hydrotherapy area, expanded taping and treatment areas, offices for the training staff, and total refurbishment of ceiling, lights, paint, and carpet.
Tiger golfers have enjoyed a $225,000 golf practice facility, which includes an indoor/covered hitting and putting area, film and computerized/video teaching area and lights for night use of the driving range. Tiger soccer players have benefited from what Tiger Pride donations produce as well. One hundred fifty thousand dollars has generated refurbished locker rooms for men’s and women’s soccer, which includes new shower/toilet facilities, new lockers, training and taping areas along with carpet and paint touch-ups throughout the facility. Jervey Gym has a new floor and additional bleachers thanks to $100,000 from Tiger Pride. Doug Kingsmore Baseball Stadium has built a new $80,000 batter’s eye in centerfield.
Tiger athletes need an exceptional practicing turf as well. Tiger Pride has put $500,000 towards athletic practice field upgrades that included regarding, irrigating and sodding two new soccer practice fields and three football practice fields.
More state-of-the-art renovations are also scheduled. They include an indoor track, Memorial Stadium upgrade of the west end zone, new lights at Memorial Stadium, Memorial Stadium/Frank Howard Field upgrade, Littlejohn Coliseum renovation/annex, baseball stadium renovations, Athletic Heritage Center and Rock Norman outdoor track. The new $3 million 200-meter 6-lane indoor track, with construction beginning by January, 2002, will also have field event areas and will provide versatility and use in inclement weather by football, soccer, and baseball.
At an astounding $21.5 million, Littlejohn Coliseum is under construction to becoming one of the best facilities in the country. It will include improved site lines and practice court, widened concourses and new men’s and women’s locker rooms, restroom upgrades and weight and training facilities, concession upgrades and recruiting areas, new seating, compliance with the ADA, new HVAC systems, and storage areas.
Three million dollars is going to the renovations of the baseball stadium to begin in June of 2002. The work will include the brick and wrought iron theme from the football stadium, additional restroom and concessions areas, enlarged dugouts, an expanded circulation area, and a cantilevered overhang for the Press Box in addition to an expansion of it. At a $100,000 estimate, the Rock Norman Outdoor Track is planning for a new press box.
Becoming part of the Tiger Pride Team is a great way to show pride in Clemson athletics while helping this dream become a reality. One way to help is by buying a brick for $250, which can be paid over the course of five years. The brick will have the donor’s name inscribed on it, so in years to come, the donor’s family will be able to see their name and feel proud for being a part of this awesome project. To learn more about Tiger Pride, contact the IPTAY office at Clemson University at 864-656-2115 or visit www.clemsontigers.com. Let’s help support Clemson Athletics roar into the 21st century.
Christy Duffner is a senior from Cincinnati, OH and works in the Clemson sports information office.
March 17, 2019