Tim Bourret’s Answers To Ask The Tigers

June 23, 2000

Below are Tim Bourret’s answers to Ask The Tigers. Bourret is an assistant athletic director and the sports information director at Clemson. thanks the fans who submitted questions and Tim for taking the time to answer them.

Sarah A. Trew, Acworth, Ga. Are you going to be having a women’s golf team?

Tim Bourret’s Answer At the moment we don’t have any plans to expand our sports program. We added women’s rowing in 1998 and that is the last time we added a sport.

We have an outstanding men’s program, but have never had a women’s program. There was a lot of talk about it in the early 1990s because one of our star players, Nicky Goetze, had a sister, Vicki, who was a national junior champion. If we could have started the program with her we would have been off and running.

A lot of factors go into adding and subtracting sports. Those include regional interest, finances, competition in the area and gender equity.

Steve Persia, Spencerport N.Y. Tim, It seems that the Clemson football program is one of the hottest up and coming teams in the nation. Do you think that this is in large part because of Tommy Bowden? When can we anticipate a National Championship?

Tim Bourret’s Answer The interest in Clemson football is certainly on the rise. Last year’s 6-6 record against one of the top schedules in the nation got everyone’s attention, not just the fans in the upstate. The national media from New York to California is looking at Clemson as a program on the rise. We have been ranked in the top 20 in many preseason polls, it will be interesting to see where we fall in the AP and USA Today polls that will be released in mid August.

Coach Bowden brought instant credibility to the program when he was hired. Certainly his last name had something to do with it, but his accomplishments as head coach at Tulane were extraordinary. Then he enhanced that reputation in his first year at Clemson. We were probably the most exciting 6-6 team in college football in the last 10 years. It was thrill a minute, even in the losses.

As far as winning the national championship is concerned, you need a lot of breaks. We have won one in 104 years. Look how good Florida State has been, they have two in their history. Look at the resources the University of Texas has and they haven’t won one since 1969, Ohio State since 1968.

You don’t anticipate a National Championship. It just happens, like it did here in 1981. In 1980 we were 6-5 and lost to Maryland by 27 points in the next to the last game. Heck, during the year we won the National Championship we were losing to Wofford at the end of the first quarter and trailed Kentucky at the half in the fourth game.

Paul Vaickus, Charleston, S.C. How do you determine which media receive passes for Clemson athletic events and which types of media do not receive passes?

Tim Bourret’s Answer The broad answer to that question would be, a credible member of the media. How do we determine that? Basically, we limit admission to the press box to daily newspapers, TV stations and radio networks or stations that cover us on a daily basis. The South Carolina radio network (Phil Kornblut’s group) staffs our press conferences and reports on our program throughout the year. The same is true for newspapers from Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Columbia, Charleston, Charlotte, etc.

Many radio stations request passes who don’t cover us, don’t have sports on a regular basis. Their managers just want a good seat for the game and want to eat our press food. We don’t let them in.

The internet is certainly causing us to rethink our policies, but I keep the same spirit of the rule. Is the site credible? Basically, the ACC policy allows just the official internet site of each school into the press box. We even limit that in that the home team has the rights to live stats of the game. Now, there are some writers who cover for newspapers who also right stories for internet sites. There isn’t much we can do about that. But, if they got a pass from a legit newspaper, they are credible writers.

We have to draw the line somewhere because we have space limitations in our press box.

Charles Fralinger, Salem N.J. Will Clemson have a male crew team in the near future?

Tim Bourret’s Answer Women’s rowing is the gender equity savior for Division I football programs. That is why you are seeing so many women’s rowing programs opening up all over the country. Women’s rowing somewhat balances out the football program. Some schools have as many as 120 women’s rowers on their team so they can balance off a 120 player football team.

To add men’s rowing would take us out of balance. Title IX created some laws that we must abide by. Each school has their own approach to entering into compliance.

John Laird, Pelham, Ala. How sincere do you think coach Bowden’s loyalty is to Clemson University? Do you think, if the situation was right, he would leave to coach Alabama, Florida State, etc. (a team that outsiders might percieve as a more glamorous position). I sure would hate to see him go, at least prematurely. Thanks for answering our questions, and keep up the good work! Go Tigers!

Tim Bourret’s Answer I can’t speak for Coach Bowden, but my personal discussions with him lead me to believe he wants to make Clemson one of those glamorous positions. He knows our history very well and feels we can get back to the winning percentages we achieved in the 1980s. His decisions are made with the long term benefit of the Clemson program in mind.

When he took the job his father said that Clemson was one of those good schools, a school where they want to win the National Championship.

It is very difficult to follow a legend. When you look at college football, the only case of great success following a legend took place at Nebraska when Tom Osborne followed Bob Devaney. Now they are both in the Hall of Fame.

C.D. Shorter, Taylors, S.C. Who determines who is placed on the cover of the Clemson football media guide each year?

Tim Bourret’s Answer I usually go to the head coach in any sport with a concept and then ask for his opinion/approval. The head coach always has the final say because it is important from a recruiting standpoint and when it comes to the cohesiveness of his or her team. Have the players on the cover earned the respect of his or her teammates?

This year’s football guide cover will feature Rod Gardner, Keith Adams, Robert Carswell, Chad Carson and Kyle Young. The back cover will be a collage of photos of 11 different former Clemson players in the NFL.

Tod Beatrice, Burke, Va. In what place do you expect the Tigers to finish in the upcoming ACC football standings? On a separate note, did you graduate from Notre Dame?

Tim Bourret’s Answer Most of the preseason polls see Clemson as second in the ACC behind Florida State. Had Chris Weinke decided to turn pro we might have gotten some votes for first place. Based on the returning starters (17 more than any other ACC team), you would look for Clemson to finish second or third. But, we can’t lose a lot of starters due to injury. Akil Smith is a terrific player in the offensive line and we need him to return, but we won’t know until the end of July.

I did graduate from Notre Dame (1977, undergrad, 1978 grad school). I hope you won’t hold that against me!

Michael Smith, Chesnee, S.C. I heard a rumor, and I was wondering if it was true or not? The rumor was that the Tigers will not be wearing the orange jerseys at home during football season anymore. If there is any truth to this, please let me know. Thanks.

Tim Bourret’s Answer Coach Bowden likes the combination of the orange pants and white jerseys, which we wore on the road at times last year. To wear something other than your dark color at home, you have to request permission from the opposing school. Georgia Tech and LSU have done this for years so they can wear white at home.

Coach has sent letters to our seven opponents who will come to Clemson in 2000. I am not aware of all the responses yet, but I understand The Citadel and Georgia Tech have said we can where white at home, while Wake Forest and NC State have denied the request. So, for the Wake Forest and NC State games we will be in orange jerseys.

I don’t think Coach Bowden has made any final determination, or at least we have not discussed it. I will probably get with him when he gets back from vacation and make a release when all the opponents have responded.

I have not made it a big priority. Most coaches will tell you that the players inside the uniform are what is important. I bet Rod Gardner can make those stellar leaping catches in an orange jersey, a white jersey or even pink….(don’t worry we aren’t considering going to pink).

Darren Moore, Greenville S.C. When is lighting going to be improved in Death Valley? It seems dimmer at night than most other stadiums. Is this part of Tiger pride?

Tim Bourret’s Answer Most TV networks do add lights from Musco lighting when they do a night game from Death Valley. I am not aware of all the details of the Tiger Pride campaign, that will be a function of the money raised and we are still in the early stages of the fund-raising aspect.

I personally like it a little dark because it gives the stadium more of an intimidating atmosphere to the opponent.

Marty Shirley, Anderson, S.C. In the fall of 2001 I will be transfering to Clemson. I will be majoring in the sports management concentration under the PRTM department. I would want to work for the ticket office, IPTAY or the athletic department during school and hopefully after graduation. Is there any advice or pointers you may have that can get me started in the right direction. I am 29 years old and an IPTAY member. Thanks.

Tim Bourret’s Answer You may contact the department when you arrive at campus. Most departments hire student assistants for the academic year.

Pierce Riley Hoole, Darlington, S.C. Will a wrestling team be available within the next two years? I would like to attend Clemson in 2002. I am interested in a wrestling program.

Tim Bourret’s Answer We had wrestling between 1975-94, then the sport was eliminated. I don’t see us adding that sport in the near future.

James Duffy, Belvedere, S.C. Mr. Robinson stated, some weeks ago, that eliminating the warning track and bringing in the fences at Kingsmore Field could happen. This might have been a trial balloon because I have heard nothing of the suggestion since that time. Why would such an action be taken? There have not been many injuries, if any, caused by the field in the years since it was opened. I understand coaches Leggett and Wilhelm are opposed. Is it because someone wants more home runs? Is it because the space is needed in the outfield to build stands? Why would such action be taken when for the past decade Clemson has one of the leading baseball programs in the nation has gotten along just fine? I have sent this in as a question several times and it has yet to be used. Is this because the issue is being buried? Change for change sake is not acceptable so many Clemson supporters would appreciate hearing the entire story.

Tim Bourret’s Answer You have not received an answer probably because the issue is still under discussion. I am not involved in those decisions and don’t know what the plans call for. I have not asked Coach Leggett about that issue.

I would have to believe that the terrace would be a big home field advantage. I was an outfielder in high school and I would have hated to come to Clemson as an opponent and deal with that terrace.

There is no doubt that Kingsmore Stadium is a tough park to hit home runs in. I am sure a lot of position players translate home runs into draftability. But, for every position player you might lose because of the size of the ballpark, I would think you would gain a great pitcher for the same reason.

Brian Hennessy, Houston, Tex. Hello Tim from Houston. All is well here. I was wondering which of the 10 new Hall of Fame inductees made the biggest impact on Clemson athletics, whether it be on the field or with intangibles such as leadership, etc.

Tim Bourret’s Answer As far as the athletes in the class are concerned, I would have to pick Elden Campbell. In his four years at Clemson he played in 84 victories and three NCAA Tournaments. His last year he was the leading scorer on Clemson’s only ACC Championship team in history. He is the school’s all-time leading scorer.

He certainly had help on the court and from a leadership standpoint, but Clemson certainly made landmark strides in a very competitive conference during his career. In 1990, Clemson won the ACC regular season championship, but two other teams (Duke and Georgia Tech) went to the Final Four. That should tell you how tough the ACC was then.

From a coaching standpoint, Dr. I.M. Ibrahim’s accomplishments were unprecedented. Two National Championships, eight straight top 10s from 1972-79, and eight straight years without a loss in the ACC. We only have three National championships in our history and he was the coach for two of them.

The best leader in any sport since I have been at Clemson is Jeff Davis, the captain of the 1981 National Championship team.

Hope you are enjoying Houston. Tell Bill Spiers we are reading his boxscores least until he got hurt.

Don Nummy, Bamberg, S.C. How is Akil Smith?

Tim Bourret’s Answer I spoke with Akil yesterday in conjunction with a story for WSPA TV. He feels good, looks good and is back to working out. He is lifting weights and running. He will do this for five weeks and at the end of July he will have some tests run to determine if he still needs blood thinners. At that time he could be cleared to play, but if he still needs blood thinners he will not be allowed to play and probably will miss the season. He has never red-shirted so he could still red-shirt the season and have two more years of eligibility.

He has gained back some of the nearly 30 pounds that he lost. He told me he was 255 on Thursday. We certainly would like to have him, he has as much athletic ability as any offensive lineman we have had in quite some time. But, obviously his long term health is the single determining factor in the decision.