During his 12 seasons as a head coach, Tommy Bowden did not have to worry about things such as social media or the transfer portal. The former Clemson coach said those are two of the biggest issues coaches are having to deal with in the ever-changing-world of college football.
“It has changed. The biggest thing, I think, is the transfer portal where players can jump out and test the market,” Bowden said to The Clemson Insider in an exclusive interview. “You don’t want to say, ‘You can’t do that’ because coaches do it. I left Tulane to go to Clemson. I broke a contract. I really did not break it, it had a buyout in it, which I honored. So, I honored the contract, but coaches will take off in a heartbeat themselves, so why can’t players do it.”
Bowden does not believe the transfer system is a bad system, but he thinks it is a broken system which he feels the NCAA needs to modify, tweak and finetune a little bit.
“(The transfer portal) has made a huge difference (in coaching). The early signing date, which I really like and would have pushed for in the coaching profession, that has really changed it, as far as getting the early commitment now and then you can kind of hone in on some other guys,” Bowden said. “That would probably be the biggest thing, the transfer portal and then social media. Those would be the biggest things.
“Social media, the texting had just taken off when I left Clemson.”
Bowden coached at Clemson from 1999-2008, where he posted a 72-45 record in his 10 seasons in Tigertown. Bowden’s teams never posted a losing record, and they were bowl eligible every season. The only year the Tigers did not go to a postseason bowl game was in 2004 after Clemson decided it would not go to a bowl game due to its involvement in the 2004 Brawl with rival South Carolina.
Before coming to Clemson, Bowden coached two seasons at Tulane, where he led the Green Wave to an 11-0 regular season in 1998. He finished his head coaching career with a 90-49 record overall.
With the transfer portal, the upcoming one-year rule and now Name, Imagine and Likeness rule coming into effect shortly, recruiting will be even more of a challenge, as will trying to manage a roster.
“It is a lot more of a headache because players got frustrated back when I was coaching,” Bowden said. “When they did not get as much playing time. There was a lot of peer pressure back home, ‘How come you are not playing?’ You would have to deal with that a good bit.
“But now, with the transfer portal, you really have to be on top of guys and you have to know all eighty-five of your scholarship guys and where they are mentally because it makes it so easy to leave you. It creates more problems for head coaches. I think that is one of the reasons why you see some of the programs like Clemson, that can afford it, bring in so many for the support staff. Head coaches are pulled further away from the Xs and Os with dealing with the transfer portal and things of that nature that they did not have to deal as much with.”