Bowden out at Clemson

2-time ACC Coach of Year leaves after preseason league favorite loses to Maryland, Wake

College Football Notes

October 14, 2008|By From Sun staff and news services

Tommy Bowden decided he had done all he could do for Clemson football, telling his athletic director yesterday that he would step aside for the future of the program.

AD Terry Don Phillips said his intent yesterday morning was to have a heart-to-heart with Bowden about the football team. So Phillips was surprised when the coach offered to walk away in midseason.

"There wasn't a gun to his head," Phillips said.

"He put it on the table for the sake of the program," he added. "I agreed."

Bowden will be paid through the end of the season, then get $3.5 million as a buyout negotiated in the extension both sides agreed to in December.

Bowden sat next to Phillips in McFadden Auditorium, where he has held meetings and news conferences the past 10 seasons. He thanked the school, administrators and his latest group of players.

"I wish them nothing but success, and I will be their biggest fan on Saturday" against Georgia Tech, Bowden said of the Tigers (3-3, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference).

With that, Bowden left the stage without taking questions, walked into his office and shut the door as Phillips detailed the day's dramatic events.

Assistant head coach and receivers coach Dabo Swinney will take over. Phillips urged him to act like the team's head coach and make difficult decisions knowing he had the administration's full backing.

It's a far fall for a team some figured would contend for a national title.

The year began with the Tigers ranked No. 9 and picked to win the ACC. But an opening 34-10 rout by Alabama and recent losses to Maryland and Wake Forest raised calls again for Bowden's ouster despite the contract extension that tied him to the school through 2014.

Clemson went 72-45 (43-32 ACC) and made eight bowl trips under Bowden, who was honored as ACC Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2003. But the son of storied coach Bobby Bowden never brought Clemson fans what they wanted most - a championship.

Clemson won nine games last season and figured to be the ACC's powerhouse this fall. Quarterback Cullen Harper was picked as favorite to win the ACC Player of the Year and the Tigers to win their first league crown since 1991.

Navy:: Quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada returned to practice and is expected to play Saturday against Pittsburgh, an athletic department spokesman said. Kaheaku-Enhada was injured in the first half of Navy's road upset of then-16th-ranked Wake Forest three weeks ago and sat out his team's win at Air Force two weeks ago. Navy (4-2) was off last week. It was the second time this season that the senior injured his hamstring, the first time coming in the preseason when he partially tore it in Navy's first scrimmage. He missed more than a month with that injury, though this injury was said to be less serious. DON MARKUS

North Carolina: : Wide receiver Brandon Tate is out for the season because of torn knee ligaments, ending his college career and leaving the No. 18 Tar Heels (5-1, 1-1 ACC) without a big-play threat and kick returner. Coach Butch Davis said a magnetic resonance imaging Sunday confirmed torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. Tate, the NCAA's all-time leader with 3,523 combined kick-return yards, injured his right knee while returning a punt in the win against Notre Dame on Saturday. Elsewhere: : Washington State quarterback Marshall Lobbestael tore knee ligaments in last weekend's loss at Oregon State and will miss the rest of the season. There was no immediate word who will start against No. 6 Southern California on Saturday, but former starter Kevin Lopina had recovered enough from a broken back bone to practice Sunday. ... Vanderbilt's Mackenzi Adams has been named starting quarterback after the No. 22 Commodores (5-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) lost to Mississippi State last weekend. Adams will replace Chris Nickson. ... Kentucky wide receiver Dicky Lyons Jr.'s career is over after an MRI revealed a second ligament tear in his leg. Lyons hurt himself in the Wildcats' loss to South Carolina last weekend. ... Ball State receiver Dante Love has been released from an Indianapolis rehabilitation center and will continue therapy on campus for the spinal injury that ended his playing career.

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