Clemson University’s Memorial Stadium, where the football Tigers play, isn’t easy to miss. And in 2020, it’s hard to miss that Clemson is really good at football, too.
That didn’t stop one attendant from stopping me on my only trip to the Clemson campus in South Carolina to whisper in my ear. “Hey, you know the guys that play over there?” he asked, then paused for dramatic effect. “They’re pretty good,” was the punchline. Yes, two national titles since 2016 qualifies Dabo Swinney’s Tigers as “pretty good.”
But while most people know how good Clemson is at football, less folks know just where Clemson is exactly. It’s not in a major metropolitan area. If not for the university, Clemson, South Carolina wouldn’t be widely known. But add a thriving college and a strong football team to any equation, and that’ll put a place on a map.
Where is Clemson University?
Clemson University is located in the town of Clemson in upstate South Carolina. The university has an undergraduate enrollment of near 20,000, which actually exceeds the population of the town. The red marker near the top-center of the map above is pointing at Clemson.
Clemson is located about half an hour southwest of Greenville, South Carolina, the biggest city nearby to Clemson. If you travel further northeast of Clemson, the first big metropolitan area you’ll hit is Charlotte, North Carolina. Head southwest from Clemson and you’ll eventually hit Atlanta.
Information about Clemson’s Memorial Stadium, Death Valley and Howard’s Rock
Clemson football plays in Memorial Stadium. The stadium’s maximum capacity is 81,500. Clemson is keeping the fan total below 20,000 during 2020 do to COVID-19 protocols.
Memorial Stadium was opened in 1942, and the time, it cost $125,000 to build. It originally sat less than 30,000 fans, but the success of the football program through the decades brought on seating additions. Clemson has won more than 70 percent of its home games in its history.
The “Death Valley” nickname comes for a handful of reasons. First off, the stadium is located in a bit of a valley. Second, the university cemetery used to overlook the football field. And third, teams have claimed to be “killed” at the hands of the Tigers.
Howard’s Rock is located at the top of the hill beyond the east end zone. The players touch the rock before they enter the field for home games. It’s a rock from Death Valley, California that was a gift to Clemson coach Frank Howard in 1966.
How many national championships has Clemson football won?
Clemson football has won three national championships. They are as follows:
Who is Clemson football’s head coach?
The head football coach at Clemson University is Dabo Swinney.
Full name William Christopher Swinney, Dabo played college football as a wide receiver at Alabama. He coached in various capacities with the Crimson Tide from 1993-2000, then joined the Clemson staff in 2003. In 2008, Swinney became the interim Clemson head coach, and he earned the full-time title in 2009.
In his career as Clemson’s head coach through Nov. 1, 2020, Swinney is 137-31. The Tigers have gone 10-6 in bowl appearances and 6-3 in the College Football Playoff, including winning two national championships.
Swinney is called “Dabo” because his older brother used to call him “Dat Boy” and the name stuck. Famously, Swinney said he didn’t know his real name until third grade when he took a scantron test.
Why does Clemson wear purple uniforms?
Clemson’s official colors are known as Clemson orange, Regalia purple and Fort Hill white. That’s why the Tigers sometimes break out uniforms that are primary colored purple. Even a lot of their orange-and-white looks have purple accenting.
The Tigers don’t often wear the fully purple uniforms, and they have a relatively poor record wearing them. In 2019, Clemson did break out the purple unis against nonconference foe Wofford in a blowout victory.
The Clemson Tiger mascot and pushups
Clemson’s mascot setup features both a Clemson Tiger and Clemson Tiger Cub, which is essentially just a smaller Tiger suit. They don’t have names beyond “Tiger” and “Tiger Cub.”
Each time Clemson scores, the Tiger does push-ups. The official Clemson website tracks Tiger pushup records, and Ricky Capps holds the all-time single-game pushup record for doing 465 during an 82-24 win over Wake Forest in 1981. The career record is held by Mike Bays, who did 2,216 pushups from 1994-97.
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