Clemson…Where Nobody Gets Fired

To reference Tommy’s last post. The Tampa Bay Rays lost last night and now trail the Rangers 0-1 in the best of 5 series. The Yankees had a spectacular comeback victory and lead the ever-dominated Twins 1-0.


Recently in Clemson, the fraternities and sororities have fallen under scrutiny for their habitual alcohol abuse which include fraternity brothers supposedly forcing a pledge to drive while intoxicated which resulted in a car accident, and numerous cases of alcohol poisoning. Last year a fraternity pledge was killed in an alcohol-related incident. So the board of trustees made a big hoopla out of it for a week, threw around some threats, but in the end, no punishment was mandated.

Now I’m glad they let them off the hook, because my girlfriend would have complained incessantly about it if they punished them, but that’s just a simple example of how Clemson’s board of trustees is quick to forgive and forget, and how holding people accountable is a foreign concept.

Clemson’s Athletic Director, Terry Don Phillips, has had a largely disappointing tenure dating back to his hire in 2002. TDP (Terry Don Phillips) is harshly, but accurately blamed for running the women’s basketball and men’s soccer programs into the ground.

Upon TDP’s hire, women’s basketball coach Jim Davis was fired despite leading Clemson to  the NCAA Tournament every year from 1996 to 2002. Christy McKinney was hired. Mrs. McKinney is a nice lady and she goes to my church so I’m not going to say anything negative, but let’s just say it didn’t work out. She has since stepped down.

Clemson’s men’s soccer coach Trevor Adair had a lot of success prior to TDP’s arrival (including an ACC championship) and had a little more in TDP’s first few years. In the summer of 2009 Adair was arrested. TDP said he would keep his job, despite the legal issues and recent struggles on the field. Later the Athletic Department tried to force his resignation for personal reasons. Adair refused and was fired. There was not enough time left before the season to find and hire a new coach so an assistant was promoted and the season was a train wreck. This year they have a new coach, but the debacle has set the program back and they’ve already lost to East Tennessee State University. They’re 3-5 with 2 more losses in exhibition games. They have looked better lately though. Maybe they’ll pick it up. Still, TDP’s dithering injured the program.

I could go on and on but I’ll just give one last glaring example of utter incompetence.

After leading Clemson to a nine-win season, Tommy Bowden was offered a coaching position at Arkansas. Being more intelligent than TDP, he essentially told TDP to give a more generous contract or he’d leave. TDP bit. The very next season, just 10 months later, TDP allowed Tommy Bowden to step down and agreed to pay the enormous buyout that was added just 10 months before.

After Tommy Bowden left, TDP hired the wide receivers coach, Dabo Swinney. Dabo is an incredible guy and I want him to see him do well, but how do you hire the wide receivers coach of the guy you just fired, a guy that you know is going to keep a decent portion of the current coaching staff?

Dabo Swinney has gone 15-10 as the head coach at Clemson. His best win was on the road against Miami last year. So why do the people here think Dabo is some sort of deity? It’s sick really! People wear shirts that say “Yabo Dabo Doo.” C’mon!

So now to my point.

Clemson is currently 2-2 with both wins against non-conference cupcakes. If Clemson was to go 4-8 this season with one of those wins coming against rival South Carolina that would make Dabo Swinney 17-16 as head coach at Clemson. In that case, do you think TDP would fire Dabo? (For the record I picked Clemson to go 8-4.)

I think not. I think it’s near impossible to get fired at Clemson. Tommy wasn’t fired, he stepped down. Oliver Purnell wasn’t fired; he left to go coach at DePaul, a significantly weaker basketball program. What does that say? It’s like coaching at Clemson is the ultimate job security.

At what point do the big guns calling the shots hold someone accountable? When does the Board of Trustees tell TDP, “Hey go to the gosh darn sporting events or quit”? Hold someone accountable or we will.” The problem is, they never do.

5 thoughts on “Clemson…Where Nobody Gets Fired

  1. Eh, I’m not sure I agree with that. Christy McKinney technically stepped down, but she may have actually been fired.

  2. Yes, which begs the question is it was a rightful fire anyway. He was losing games and had seemingly lost the team so it was justified from that angle but that surely was not why he was canned.

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