Wow. I knew this day would come for a while, but it still feels surreal to say that at the time of this writing, I have less than one full day until I am officially an alumni of Clemson University. Before I go any further, congrats to everyone else who is graduating this week!
Clemson has long been a family school, ever since my dad made the decision to bring his talents to the Upstate in the late 80’s. Due to this, my fandom has been rabid since birth (I came home in a Clemson onesie, it was destined for me to rep the Paw). When I was in high school, I was pursuing options to participate in athletics at the collegiate level, but once I decided to hang up the cleats (shoutout Furman for giving me a chance), the decision to transfer to Clemson felt inevitable.
I know no one reading this has met me and probably never will, but I want to thank each and every one of you who read my articles this year, writing about Clemson athletics brought me a lot of joy and was something I could have never guessed would have happened. Now for some actual sports content, I thought it would be a cool idea to highlight some of the athletic accomplishments I have seen as a Clemson student.
Arguably the flagship of the athletic department, Clemson has enjoyed a 31-8 record since I officially became a Tiger. This run included 2 ACC Championships, and 1 College Football Playoff berth. Obviously I would have loved a natty, but the football program has brought me a lot of joy over the years and will continue to do so (Garrett Riley SZN incoming).
While the baseball program has been on a bit of a downward slope these last few years, the Erik Bakich hire looks like a grand slam (I played baseball all my life, and had to throw a pun in). I was lucky enough to operate the scoreboard for the last three years of Clemson baseball, and some of my favorite memories as an undergrad were spent at Doug Kingsmore.
I can’t say enough good things about the Clemson softball program. From outstanding success to the amount of support the Clemson family has provided, it is clear that Clemson Softball will be a mainstay for years to come. I had the pleasure of watching Valerie Cagle play, and it is of my opinion that she is one of the most dominant players of their respective sports that I have ever seen. Here’s to making it to Oklahoma this year!
The only National Championship I was on campus for came at the feet of the Men’s Soccer team. From packing Riggs to helping select people to participate in mid-game promotions (shoutout everyone who won the dizzy bat race or the crossbar challenge), soccer was always an escape from tough school work during those fall semesters. Whether it was the Men’s team or the Women’s, Riggs brought the energy and showed that Clemson is not just a football school, but also a “Futbol” school.
As much pain as Clemson basketball brings many people, I have to say being in Littlejohn when the Tigers brought down Duke was a core memory for me. No matter what the state of the team was, it was always fun getting in and watching some quality basketball being played. With a lot of transfers coming in, the men look poised for a NCAA Tournament bid. To sweeten things up, I believe that Amanda Butler has the Women’s team ready to take that next step. The Tigers have been getting better and better, and I think they can shock some people with a magical season next year.
Being a baseball player, I never got the chance to watch lacrosse. I had no idea what the rules were, or how to properly consume watching the sport, but this year, the Clemson Women’s Lacrosse team captured my attention. In their first season, they found their way into the national rankings, all while dealing with the toughest conference in the country. Watch out for this team in a couple years, they can do some damage.
All of these sports have enjoyed great success, and with Gymnastics coming next year, it truly is a great day to be a Tiger. So with all that being said, I say goodbye to my time as an undergrad, but not as Tiger. Ever loyal. Go to hell South Carolina.