Hello Tiger fans!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Last week, I had an opportunity to spend some time with incoming President Jim Clements and his family. I was excited before and even more so now, with his energy and enthusiasm as it relates to our athletic program. He sets a high standard of excellence, which we will aspire to reach.
We are disappointed to see the football regular season end with a loss, however, I remain proud of the effort put forth by our players Saturday in Columbia. Regardless, we are still under consideration for one of the at-large spots in the BCS, specifically, the Discover Orange Bowl. In my conversations with Orange Bowl officials on Sunday afternoon, their primary concerns about Clemson center on ticket sales and team ranking. While the team won 10 games and remains ranked among the top in the nation, the only thing we can control now are ticket sales. It is critical that we support our team by letting the Orange Bowl know our fans are interested in attending the game and buying tickets. There is no question the opponent will be of high quality and this game will be another great test.
So many fans ask about stronger out of conference scheduling and this is one way – without the constraints of schedules and home and home dates – to play a great opponent and continue to grow our program. In one short year at Clemson, I have come to be a great believer in the power of the Clemson Family and a believer in these outstanding young men and our coaching staff.
Regardless of our post-season destination, we cannot emphasize enough the need for our fans to utilize our athletic ticket office to purchase tickets. The last time we sold at least 10,000 tickets through the athletic ticket office for a bowl game was the 2009 Gator Bowl against Nebraska. With more than 20,000 Clemson fans at each of our last three bowl games, there is no question that our fans have purchased bowl tickets through third parties and the secondary marketplace, but we need your help in purchasing tickets through the athletic ticket office. This makes a huge statement with the bowls and their committees. In an effort to assist in making a difference, we have extended the deadline to return the ticket applications mailed to IPTAY members to 4:30 pm to Friday, Dec. 6.
To show our desire to play in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl, I ask each of you to utilize at least one of the following methods to reach the selection committee and bowl staff: E-mail the Orange Bowl at MakeItOrange@orangebowl.org; utilize social media by mentioning @OrangeBowl or using #ClemsonOrange on Twitter and visit facebook.com/OrangeBowl. Combining the power of the Clemson brand, as well as the muscle of electronic media, all of us can help make an influential statement about Clemson.
As we close out the football season, I want thank the folks that made for a successful football season for us, from Van Hilderbrand and our operations staff to Mike Money and his team in our marketing department to everyone who works so hard to make Death Valley the greatest stadium in the country. Mike and his staff are to be commended for a fantastic Military Appreciation Day against The Citadel, as are our students for the idea of the “Purple Out.” We look forward to tallying our notes from the season and keeping our operations amongst the best in the country moving forward. Remember, you are all encouraged to provide feedback on your Clemson game day experience here.
Congratulations to Brad Brownell and Audra Smith on good starts this basketball season. Coach Brownell’s team is 6-1 and if you have not had a chance to make it out to a game, please do because this group is fun to watch. Congratulations to Coach Smith and the Lady Tigers as they look to build on a three-game winning streak this week at UNC Greensboro.
As we near the end of the fall semester, it’s important to recognize the great work done by Steve Duzan and the staff at Vickery Hall. We thank them for their tireless work. I know our student-athletes appreciate the work they do counseling and mentoring them through their academic workload.
In closing, I want to express our condolences to the family of Associate Athletic Director Kyle Young. His mother, Kathy, passed away Saturday after complications from a kidney transplant. The Young family has had a tremendous impact on Clemson University and our athletic program, and we certainly hope you keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.