CLEMSON, SC, June 11, 2013 ― Howard’s Rock has been vandalized. Sources indicate that it happened on Wednesday. Howard’s Rock was last vandalized in 1992. Since then, it has been enclosed in a glass case for protection.
Clemson football players entering Memorial Stadium for games rub Howard’s Rock. The rock sits on a pedestal engraved with the words “From Death Valley, CA to Death Valley, Clemson, SC. Presented to Coach Frank Howard the the Clemson Football Team by S.C. Jones, September 1966.”
The rock is one of Clemson’s most beloved football traditions. In the early 1960’s, it was given to head coach Frank Howard by a friend from the class of 1919. Howard used the rock as a doorstop in his office for several years, before 1966, when he cleaned out his office. He reportedly told IPTAY director Gene Willimon to “Take this rock and throw it over the fence, or out in the ditch… do something with it, but get it out of my office.” Willimon then had Howard’s rock placed on the engraved pedestal at the top of the hill at the east endzone of Death Valley Memorial Stadium.
In 1966, Howard told his players to “Give me 110% or keep your filthy hands off my rock!” Clemson Tigers have rubbed the rock before home football games since 1967.
A chunk of the rock was chipped off after vandals broke the casing that protects the famous fixture. “We take vandalism, especially of such an important part of our history, very seriously,” said Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich. Police are currently investigating.
Various reports indicate it was vandalized on June 2nd or 3rd, after anemployee reported it was vandalized. A CUPD officer went to the scene and found the plexiglass casing on the ground next to the gate.
A police report obtained from the university stated that a officer responded to Clemson Memorial Stadium on June 3 after two employee's found the rock damaged. The report states that the officer observed the plexiglass cover was missing from Howard's Rock and a large piece of the rock was missing.
The officer stated in the report that he found the plexiglass cover sitting on the ground near the gate to the stadium. The employee's told the officer that they did not touch the pedestal, but they did pick up several pieces of the rock and part of the lock from the case.
Police officers took pictures of the damage and a partial fingerprint was recovered from the rock. A stadium employee took possession of the damaged lock and pieces of the rock. Athletic Department officials told the police officer that football campers had their pictures made at the rock on June 2, but it ended at 4 pm.
If anyone has any information about the vandalism, they are asked to call the Clemson University Police Department at (864) 656-2222.
Rather than some expletive-laced tirade, I'll just post this and a warning to whomever did it: you better hope the cops find your dumbass before the wrong Clemson fan does.