By David Thackham
He never liked the glitz of a national spotlight, never enjoyed the glamor of playing professional football and never wanted to leave his home in Kershaw, S.C. All Stacy Seegars really wanted to do after his solid four-year career playing offensive guard for the Clemson Tigers was relax on the lake.
“I guess I’m more of a guy who stays close to home,” Seegars said. “I’d rather be on the lake fishing than be in San Francisco or Seattle.”
Both trips to the West Coast came out of Seegars’ brief flirtation with the NFL following two All-American years in Clemson, where he was a prime reason Clemson was ranked in the top 10 in the nation in rushing in 1992 and 1993. Four years in the trenches, however, wore Seegars down.
“In the last year of college, it felt like more of a job,” Seegars said. “Burnout had a lot to do with it, it kind of felt like the fun was taken out of it.”
Seegars finished off his collegiate career on a 1993 Tiger team that recorded nine wins out of 12, ranked 15th in the country and beat a talented Kentucky team by one point in the Peach Bowl.
Facing a national combine and a level of public scrutiny from the National Football League, Seegars went to his father, Randy, for advice.
“I talked to my dad and said, ‘If I don’t feel better about it when I’m down there, I’m not doing it.’ I’m not doing something because everyone expects me to,’” he said.
After an appearance in the East-West Shrine Game in San Francisco, Calif., Seegars reluctantly took part in the 1993 NFL combine in Indianapolis — in the same class as Notre Dame, and later Pittsburgh Steeler, standout Jerome Bettis.
“Even though I was a first team All-American, I didn’t have the best pass-blocking skills,” Seegars said. “But I figure that’s why I didn’t get drafted. I just wanted to see if my mind would be any different.”
Soon after signing a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks, Seegars realized his heart still wasn’t committed.
“If I wanted to play in the NFL, I could have,” Seegars said. “But the way my body hurts right now, I’m glad I didn’t play another down. Some people like the glamor, a lot of players like the fact that they were the star, but I never had the desire. I knew in my heart, I had done the best I could and that was good for me.”
Transitioning from the playing field to the working life was simple for Seegars. In each offseason at Clemson, he helped Randy build docks on Lake Kershaw for his father’s construction company, something Stacy found therapeutic.
“I’m a realist, I’m very simple,” he said. “That kind of lifestyle of living out of a suitcase isn’t that appealing. I got enough travel at Clemson, going to bowl games in my senior year. If you don’t really want to be (in the NFL), you shouldn’t stay.”
Seegars attributes his “small town personality” as the reason he’s stayed close to home, saying his experience in Clemson was invaluable.
“If there was anyone who loved Clemson, it’s me,” he said. “I couldn’t have picked a better school to suit me. I chose Clemson because I got to be close to Lake Hartwell and now I travel more in a boat than I do in a car. I’ll take the boat to work and then on the weekends, take it to the marina on Saturdays for bass tournaments. I always knew this is where I wanted to spend my years.”
Seegars recently bought his own marina and lives in his farmhouse just a half-mile from his old high school, Andrew Jackson. He says he and his wife of one year share many of the same passions.
“Me and my wife met at the lake, she loves the water and so do I,” Seegars said. “That’s where we spend our time, we’re water people.”
Although Seegars declined to play football after graduating from the university in 1994, he says he still keeps up with members of the Tigers, even as far as going to Myrtle Beach every spring to play golf.
“We’ve been doing this every year for about six or seven years now, I always look forward to it,” he said. “Everyone’s there recreating, they’re all just happy and that’s great.”