This article appears in the official Clemson vs. SC State Game Program, which fans can purchase at the game Saturday.
By Don Munson // Clemson Athletic Communciations
Can you remember what happened on May 15, 1995 in Clemson history? That was the day the Banks McFadden Building opened. The facility became home of the Tiger football administration.
Tommy West, his staff and players were all fired up about their new home. The building boasted all the top-of-the-line items and gadgets the coaches and players could wish for at the time. How far we have come since then.
The Clemson football program moved its offices into the WestZone during the summer of 2009, and since then, the impact has been significant. It was not just from a coaches and players standpoint in their daily use, but also the way Tiger football was perceived in general. It opened the eyes of young men from around the country who wanted to wear a Clemson uniform.
This past summer, a dramatic upgrade was done to the building. As you walk into the first-floor lobby, there is now a brand-new feel, as a state-of-the-art graphics package has been added. The package, as you examine it, is a walking depiction of the program’s success under the guidance of Head Coach Dabo Swinney.
Go through the doors to the back hall that leads to the locker room and you find another graphic innovation. This area documents the requirements and expectations of those who wear the Clemson uniform. The graphics on the back hall state the culture of the program.
From the hall, players enter the newly redesigned locker room. As players enter, they notice right away a stated elegance and class. Each locker has a warm, rich, wood tone. In each locker, the players find the team commandments mounted on the back wall. The lighting is done with a dramatic effect.
There are glassed enclosed lockers that honor McFadden, Steve Fuller and C.J. Spiller, the three players who have had their numbers retired. They are all true Clemson football legends.
Even the shower and bathroom space has been overhauled to give the players more privacy and respect. The improvements are more noticeable on the first floor, but it is on the second floor that display the enhancements done for the players.
The most utilized space in the building is on the second floor…the new player lounge. When players open the frosted glass doors, they enter a modern-day entertainment area. The players can play pool and ping pong on multiple tables. There are two large-screen televisions to enjoy video games or their favorite show.
Both of these areas have large sitting spaces with some of the most comfortable couches on campus. There are also two, side-by-side basketball shooting challenge games, an enclosed area with video arcade games and a miniature shuffle board game.
Gone are the days when Assistant Coaches Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott, both former Tiger players, were just glad to have one used pool table in what was their version of a player lounge in the early 2000s.
Around the corner from the player lounge is the new recruiting center. A bank of computers used by support staff and student interns comprise the area. On these computers, workers are constantly tracking high school players, updating social network sites designed specifically for Clemson football and designing graphics to be used in recruiting.
Also in this space is a wooden door. Through this door lies the “War Room” of Tiger football recruiting. On the walls of the room are over 400 names of recruits from across the country. All the information is broken down by class and position. It is really a large conference room with a large table in the middle. It is here where the head coach and staff meet to go over the recruiting strategy for the program.
Even the strength training facility has a new addition, as a new food station was constructed. Players get all the nutrition they need to energize themselves throughout the day and during workouts.
In all, more than $1 million was spent in the last six months to upgrade the WestZone for players and staff. It has been money well spent, as the new fields are already producing a harvest. Not only do current players have a better feel about themselves, but the eyes of recruits and their families have been opened. There is no doubt Tiger football is dedicated to being the best. As Swinney is always saying, “Best is the Standard” when it comes to Clemson.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
ASSISTANT COACH CHAD MORRIS
“For our guys right now, they have it all. What more could you ask for with what we have done here and how this university is committed to making this the best place in the country. It truly is remarkable! We tell our guys all the time that there is no excuse. It is exciting to see how far we have come in just the four years that I have been here.”
ASSISTANT COACH JEFF SCOTT
“Coach Swinney is always talking about ‘best.’ It is one of the terms he is always using. He wants the very best for the players. It sends a strong message that we are always going to be ‘best’ and that we are never satisfied. We are always going to add and build to give our players the very best.”
ASSISTANT COACH BRENT VENABLES
“It obviously shows how ambitious we are and that we are not satisfied. We want to compete with the best, anywhere in America. These are some beautiful finishes that have been made. It gives it a rich, warm feeling that is very, very classy. The player lounge has some ‘eye candy,’ but it gives our players a place to relax, bond and build team chemistry.”
C.J. DAVIDSON, RB
“It is great! It makes you want to be here. It makes you want to be here even more. It is a great environment. You can study, play games or just relax.”
REID WEBSTER, OL
“It is great with what has been done. I wish I was going to be a player here a little longer so I could enjoy it more. It is the small things that have made an impact. If I was a recruit and came walking into this, I would be astonished.”
March 14, 2019