By Will Vandervort.
What are the two best coaching combos in Clemson history in terms of football and basketball?
ESPN had a story today ranking the best combos at one school of all-time in college football and basketball. Of course, because of its basketball history, Clemson was not on the list.
But it got me thinking, what are the best combos at Clemson?
Here is what my research dug up.
1979-’84 (Danny Ford and Bill Foster)
During this stretch, the football team won a national championship, while the basketball program came within a whisker of advancing to The Final Four.
Danny Ford took the Clemson football program to new heights when he coached the Tigers to a perfect 12-0 record in 1981, which concluded with the 1981 National Championship. During the five-year stretch, the Tigers were 44-11-2. Besides winning a national championship, they finished ranked in the top 10 two more times, won two ACC Championships (were ineligible in 1983 due to NCAA probation, but would have won it) and at the time won the most games in school history and had the best winning percentage (.781) for a five-year stretch. Clemson had great players on those teams like All-Americans Terry Kinard, Perry Tuttle, Jeff Davis and Williams Perry, and of course who can forget Homer Jordan’s performance in the 1982 Orange Bowl win over Nebraska.
Bill Foster led the Tigers to back-to-back 20-win seasons in 1979-’80 and 1980-’81, marking the first time that happened in the program’s history. Foster’s 1979-’80 team was the best of the bunch 23-9 and advanced to the Elite 8 of the 1980 NCAA Tournament – still the closet any Clemson team has come to the Final Four. Clemson lost in the West Regional Finals to Larry Brown’s UCLA Bruins, who went on to play Louisville in the National Championship Game. That Clemson team had Larry Nance, Billy Williams and Bobby Conrad on the floor. Overall, three of Foster’s five teams during that era advanced to the postseason. The 1980-’81 and 1981-’82 teams were invited and played in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).
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