21 February 2007


There’s a certain set of ostrich-skinned cowboy boots that walk the length of the West Endzone on game day Saturdays here at Clemson… and there was talk of Arkansas looking into seeing how much it would take to get those boots to walk in the direction of Fayetteville. Those boots belong to current Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips. The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics named Phillips the 2005-06 General Sports Turf Systems Athletic Director-of-the-Year for the Southeast Region of Division I-A. He was also a player at Arkansas for their current athletic director, 82-year-old Frank Broyles. He also served as the senior associate athletic director there from 1988 – 1994. When Frank Broyles announced his forthcoming retirement for the end of this year to the Board of Trustees at Arkansas this past Saturday, they focused their attention on two men who were connected to their university and that could possibly replace Broyles. The other man who was thrown in the bubbling stew of rumors is former Clemson head coach Ken Hatfield who also played defensive back at Arkansas, earning a national championship ring for the 1964 season.

On Tuesday, Terry Don announced to the press that he hadn’t even been contacted by Arkansas, but he made it a point that he wasn’t about to pack up and go anywhere. “To be as clear as I can be, I very much enjoy working at Clemson University. I have no intentions of leaving Clemson. I am not an applicant or intend to be an applicant for that job at the University of Arkansas,” stated Phillips, who is now entering the sixth year of his contract as the Clemson Athletics Director. “The University of Arkansas has not called me, I don't anticipate them calling me, and I'm happy here.”

This off-season has proven to be somewhat of a test for the Clemson administration with many coaches and staff getting generous offers from a multitude of organizations both from the college and professional levels. Most of the key players of the Clemson football coaching staff had been either been considered, contacted, or offered lucrative contracts by teams such as the University of Alabama, the University of South Carolina, and the Oakland Raiders just to name a few. Only one man, former running backs coach Burton Burns, jumped ship. But he can’t really be blamed for accepting the same position under Nick Saban at Alabama, all the while accepting a pay increase that dwarfs what he was earning here at Clemson.

Phillips also stated that he loves Clemson and everything related to it. He also said one of the main reasons he remains steadfast in his decision to not even consider a move from Clemson is the support he receives not only from the fans, his coaches, and the athletes, but the overwhelming support he has received from President Jim Barker and the Clemson Board of Trustees. “I know we have unequivocal support by the president and trustees to have a great athletic program,” Phillips stated. "We have our challenges, but I feel very good about Clemson [and it’s future].” I for one can say that I’m glad that the Texas-native will be strutting his stuff in the West Endzone next fall in those impeccable boots of his.

Current Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips gives Arkansas the preemptive "no no" in their search to replace Frank Broyle.