December 2, 1998
CLEMSON, S.C. — Tommy Bowden was named Clemson head football coach on December 2, 1998. Bowden comes to the Tiger program after successful back-to-back seasons in his two seasons as a head coach at Tulane. At Tulane, he led the Green Wave to an 18-4 record, including a perfect 11-0 mark in 1998.
In his first year as a head coach, Bowden took a Tulane team that was picked to finish last in Conference USA to a 7-4 record. The Green Wave set or equaled 33 school records on the way to a second place league finish. The seven wins were the most by a Tulane team since the 1980 season.
During the 1997 season Tulane’s offensive attack flourished. The team produced 375 points and threw for 25 touchdowns. The Green Wave totaled 4,610 yards of total offense and showed balance as it averaged 233.4 yards per game passing and 182.9 yards rushing. As a result of the stellar offensive play, quarterback Shaun King was named the 1997 Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year.
Bowden’s first team also boasted a solid defensive unit. The Green Wave defense led the nation with 26 interceptions and posted two shutouts in the same season for the first time since 1973. The special teams led the nation in field goals and ranked fourth nationally in punting.
The 1998 season saw the program’s progression continue under Bowden. Tulane, at 11-0, enjoyed its first perfect regular season and most wins since the 1931 season. The Green Wave earned their first conference crown since winning the SEC in 1949. Bowden’s team, ranked ninth in both polls heading into games of Dec. 5th, has been a mainstay in the national polls this season, the first time Tulane has been ranked since the 1979 season. The Green Wave will face Brigham Young in the Liberty Bowl, the school’s first bowl appearance since participating in the 1987 Independence Bowl.
All of this success has been a result of one of the most efficient offenses in college football in 1998. Tulane stands as the only team in the country that is averaging over 300 yards passing per game and 200 yards rushing. As of games through November 28, Tulane is ranked fourth in the nation in total offense at 507.1 yards per game. The team is ranked 13th in passing (304.7) and 22nd in rushing (202.4).
Tulane has scored 40 or more points in seven contests this season, including each of the last five games. The team is second nationally with an average of 45.4 points per game. Under the direction of Bowden, Tulane converted 52 percent of its third down opportunities (74-142) and 60 percent of its fourth down attempts (6-10) this fall. The Green Wave have protected the football as well. Tulane opponents turned the ball over 26 times while the Green Wave only had 11 turnovers on offense.
Twelve different Tulane players hit pay dirt in the end zone this season, including five players with eight or more TDs.
Several Green Wave players are ranked among the national leaders. King is first in the country in passing efficiency with a 183.3 rating. That rating is the highest in NCAA history by a division I-A quarterback. He has passed for 3232 yards and 36 touchdowns in ’98. King is also sixth in the country in total offense at 342.2 yards per game.
King has had the luxury of throwing to a fine receiving corp that includes P.J. Franklin and Jajuan Dawson, both of whom rank among the top-20 in the nation in pass receptions per game. Franklin is 12th in receptions (6.7) and ninth in receiving yards per game (106.7), while Dawson is 20th in receptions (6.2) and 30th in receiving yards per game (86.1).
Before taking over at Tulane, Bowden spent six seasons (1991-96) at Auburn where he served as offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. During his tenure, Auburn was a combined 45-20-2, including 11-0 in 1993. Also during this stay at the school, Auburn finished in the final AP top 25 three times.
In 1995, the Auburn offense was just the sixth in SEC history to have at least 2,000 yards rushing (2,158) and 2,500 yards passing (2,891). That season it led the SEC in rushing offense (196.2 ypg) and was second in total offense (459 ypg). The team established school records in total offense (5,049), points (424), points per game (38.6) and touchdowns (56).
Bowden spent one season at Kentucky in 1990 as offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. That season, he helped the Wildcats to their first upper-division finish in the SEC since 1984.
During the 1987-89 seasons, Bowden directed the wide receivers at Alabama. The Crimson Tide was a combined 26-10 during those three campaigns, which included three bowl trips. In 1989, Alabama won the SEC Championship for the right to play Miami (FL) in the Sugar Bowl.
As offensive coordinator at Duke, Bowden experienced ACC football for the first time during the 1984-86 seasons. His Blue Devil offense featured future NFL quarterback Anthony Dilweg, who was a third round draft choice of Green Bay in 1989.
Twice during his career Bowden has joined his father Bobby on the Florida State staff. The first came when he coached the Seminole defensive backs for two seasons (1978-79). FSU went 19-4 in those two seasons including an 11-1 record in 1979 and a trip to the Orange Bowl. The Seminole secondary had 23 interceptions that year.
Bowden rejoined the Florida State staff in 1981 as tight ends coach for three seasons. During those seasons he helped FSU reach the 1982 Gator Bowl and 1983 Peach Bowl.
Sandwiched between his stints at Florida State were stops at East Carolina and Auburn. In 1980, Bowden coached defensive backs at East Carolina through spring practice before joining former Pirate coach Pat Dye at Auburn. At Auburn, he coached running backs on a team that finished 18th in the AP poll. That season, Bowden coached 13-year NFL running back James Brooks, who is currently second on the Auburn career rushing list with 3,523 yards.
Bowden actually began his coaching career at his alma mater, West Virginia. He served the Mountaineer program as a graduate assistant coach in 1977. Prior to that year, he played four seasons as a wide receiver for WVU. He was a member of the Mountaineers’ 1975 Peach Bowl team and was named a Churchmen’s All-American in 1976.
Bowden was born July 10, 1954 in Birmingham, AL and is married to the former Linda Joan White. The couple has two children: Ryan, 16 and Lauren, 13.
Head Coaching Career Record: 18-4 in two seasons at Tulane
Education/Playing Experience: West Virginia, 1977/Played four years as wide receiver
Assistant Coaching Experience: 1977 West Virginia, Graduate Assistant 1978-79 Florida State, Defensive Backs 1980 East Carolina, Defensive Backs 1980 Auburn, Running Backs 1981-83 Florida State, Tight Ends 1984-86 Duke, Offensive Coordinator 1987-89 Alabama, Wide Receivers 1990 Kentucky, Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers 1991-96 Auburn, Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
Head Coaching Experience: 1997-98 Tulane
Bowl Experience: 1975 Peach Bowl (West Virginia – Player) 1979 Orange Bowl (Florida State – Assistant Coach) 1982 Gator Bowl (Florida State – Assistant Coach) 1983 Peach Bowl (Florida State – Assistant Coach) 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl (Alabama – Assistant Coach) 1988 Sun Bowl (Alabama – Assistant Coach) 1996 Outback Bowl (Auburn – Assistant Coach) 1996 Independence Bowl (Auburn – Assistant Coach)
Personal: Born – July 10, 1954 (age 44), Birmingham, Ala. Family – Married to the former Linda Joan White; 2 children (Ryan, 16; Lauren, 13)
March 14, 2019