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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

The ACC School Mount Rushmores: Clemson FINAL

The Clemson final spot did not prove to be overly difficult.  Although there was some debate over Larry Nance, with Horace Grant being suggested, it is hard to overlook Nance’s taking Clemson farther than anyone else AND having a stellar NBA career.

For the fourth spot, however, we are going with Banks McFadden. Although his name sounds like it should be in a movie… like Dodgeball… the guy was a stellar athlete a long time ago.  Consider this biography:

He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959 . . . McFadden is widely considered to be the greatest athlete in Clemson University history, lettering in three sports (football, basketball and track). In 1939, McFadden was voted the Associated Press’ “Athlete of the Year”. McFadden was also a two-time All-American in basketball (1938 and 1939) and lead the Tigers basketball team to a Southern Conference championship in 1939. Upon graduating, McFadden played football for the National Football League’s Brooklyn Dodgers. McFadden fought in World War II and upon returning to the United States went into coaching.

On September 19, 1987, Clemson University retired his basketball No. 23 and football No. 66.

So, there you go, a retired jersey in TWO sports.  Not many players get that type of recognition.

The Final Verdict for the Clemson Mount Rushmore:  Danny Ford, Frank Howard, Larry Nance, and Banks McFadden!

As we discussed previously, these school-wide Mount Rushmores are limited to sports only–players and coaches.  That being said, athletes that have gone on to have careers that have furthered their legend are rewarded also.   And negative publicity will also be factored in.  We do not believe that USC would put OJ Simpson on its Mount Rushmore.  It is what it is.  Admittedly, there will be a recency bias too.  While historical accomplishments are typically quite impressive, coaching college football (as an example) in 1955 was a lot different than coaching today, where coaches rarely get 5 years to make their mark anymore.  Similarly, in an era of up to 14 college football games or 40 college basketball games, as well as daunting pressure from the fans and media, today’s game is more challenging.  That’s our opinion and we are sticking to it.

The Confidential gives the first spot to Danny Ford.  Clemson has one national title in football.  That was in 1981–a team coached by Danny Ford.  The 1980’s were very good to Clemson, as the team went 96-29 under Ford, including six ACC titles.  Ford went 6-2 in bowl games also.  Although Ford had some, ahem, “issues”… with the rules… a national championship is special for a university.  And Ford brought one to Clemson.

The #2 spot goes to Frank Howard.  There have been a lot of good Clemson players, but Ford and Howard have set the tone for Clemson to persist as a football school all these years.  While Ford got the national title, Howard had the longevity, coaching for 39 years (1931-1969), thirty as the head coach.  He also coached baseball for a year, as well a track and field for several.  While he was winning 165 games for Clemson as a head football coach, he also served as athletic director.  Even after retirement from a non-sports position in 1974, he continued on with the school as an unpaid contributor until his death in 1996.  From 1930 to 1996, Howard served Clemson.  Naming the football field after him was well justified.  And, of course, there is Howard’s rock:

Howard’s Rock, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The #3 spot is, as always, a tough one.  The Confidential will select Larry Nance.  Clemson’s hoops performance has been spotty, less than a dozen appearances in the Big Dance.  But Nance led the Tigers to an elite eight in 1980–the best finish ever.  Nance also had a lengthy NBA career, where he was a very reliable source of rebounds, blocked shots, and secondary scoring.  Nance also won the NBA’s very first slam dunk contest.

And that leads us to the number four spot.  A lot of football players here… CJ Spiller, Terry Kinard, Steve Fuller, Banks McFadden, Brian Dawkins, and William “The Refrigerator” Perry, among others.  On the baseball side, Jimmy Key is probably the alum with the most MLB success, but Bill Wilhelm and Jack Leggett have coached Clemson from 1958 to present, amassing nearly 2,000 wins between them.  Surely there are plenty others.  This is where you come in–let us know who should be #4.

Who will be the Confidential’s fourth Clemson Tiger on its Mount Rushmore?

Other Mount Rushmores:

  1. Maryland Preliminary   Maryland Final
  2. Boston College    Boston College Final
  3. Wake Forest
  4. Miami
  5. Virginia Tech
  6. Syracuse
  7. Virginia
  8. Pittsburgh
  9. North Carolina State
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