1985

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1985 in Clemson History

Events that occurred in 1985:

  • Winter: The Esso Club discontinues pumping gas.
  • Nick's Tavern & Deli changes ownership from Nick Vatakis to Esther Revis-Wagner and her husband Ken.
  • January 24: At a retreat of the Board of Trustees and university officials held at Hickory Knob State Park, the majority of the board decides that President Bill Atchley has to go. Atchley's opponents, without providing evidence, claim that he has responded to the coaching and drugs crisis revealed in the fall of 1984 by organizing a campaign to make the Board of Trustees appear hostile to academics. (Steirer, Jr., William F., "The Outsider: Bill Lee Atchley. 1979-1985", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 236, citing article in The State, Columbia, South Carolina, March 3, 1985.)
  • February 15: After a faculty senate vote of "no confidence" in director of athletics, Bill McLellan, McLellan asks for and receives an indefinite leave of absence. (Steirer, Jr., William F., "The Outsider: Bill Lee Atchley. 1979-1985", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 236, citing article in The Greenville News, Greenville, South Carolina, February 16, 1985.)
  • February 16: President Bill Atchley announces that he has approved director of athletics Bill McLellan's request for indefinite leave with pay pending the SLED investigation into the drugs and coaching scandal uncovered in the fall of 1984. Bobby Robinson becomes acting athletic director. (Greenville News, Greenville, South Carolina, 16 February 1985.) "McLellan asked [Dean Walter T.] Cox for the leave as the two drove home from Columbia after attending a meeting of the trustees. Cox approved of the idea, took it to Atchley, and then called W.G. DesChamps, a trustee and chairman of the board's subcommittee on athletics. DesChamps told The State reporter that McLellan's leave had resulted from the latter's exhaustion caused by the upstate newspapers and Clemson's faculty." (The State, Columbia, South Carolina, 16 February 1985.) "Cox publicly announced that McLellan's leave 'was not a prelude to termination, and I hope that is clear...If I thought that this would jeopardize his position, I would have never recommended it.' " (Greenville News, 16 February 1985.) "Faculty Senate President David Senn said the decision was good for the university." (Greenville News, 16 February 1985.) (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 254, citing articles in The State and The Greenville News listed above.)
  • March 1: The Board of Trustees meet to decide whether or not to fire President Bill Atchley. Board chairman, state Senator James Waddell, asserts that there is no movement to oust Atchley, but state newspapers say otherwise. Pointing out that the meeting has been called, the Greenville News reports that the board is split, and suggests that the "trustees evidentally favor nurture, promotion, and protection of athletics over the school's chartered purposes of teaching, research, and public service." (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 255, citing the Greenville News, 1 March 1985.) At the end of a seven-hour session, Waddell announces that Atchley has resigned effective July 1 after failing to get a favorable vote of confidence and that Bill McLellan wishes to be reassigned elsewhere in the university. Dean Cox informs Waddell that McLellan has effectively resigned from the athletic directorship. All this causes much consternation across the state, with much criticism leveled at the Board of Trustees. Several hundred students rally to urge Atchley to change his mind, but he refuses. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 255.)
  • March 3: Dean Cox, vice president for student affairs, announces that a search will begin next week for athletic director Bill McLellan's successor. Shortly, Cox indicates that acting director Bobby Robinson is the frontrunner. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 256, citing The Greenville News, Greenville, South Carolina, 3 March 1985.)
  • March 6: Students collect 3,000 signatures on petitions supporting President Bill Atchley. (Steirer, Jr., William F., "The Outsider: Bill Lee Atchley. 1979-1985", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 237.)
  • March 9: Dean Walter Cox appoints Bobby Robinson the new athletic director at Clemson, replacing Bill McLellan, who effectively resigned on March 1. Two other candidates for the position have withdrawn their names from consideration. President Bill Atchley immediately ratifies Cox's choice. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 256, citing the Greenville News, Greenville, South Carolina, 9 March 1985.)
  • March 24: In the wake of President Bill Atchley's resignation on March 1, the Board of Trustees meets again in Columbia to agree on a search plan and sets a target date of October for selection. They also pass a resolution affirming the priority of academics over athletics. Some trustees seek more information about a possible cover-up of Stijn Jasper's death, but board chairman, state Senator James Waddell, insists that the situation is strictly an administrative matter. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 256, citing board minutes, 24 March 1985, pages 10-11.)
  • June 22: An event held honoring J. Banks McFadden's 42 years of service to the university. (Bourret, Tim, "Clemson University Football Vault", Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, 2008, ISBN 0794824307, page 95.)
  • June 29: At a meeting of the Board of Trustees, Dean Walter Cox is unanimously selected as interim president after Bill Atchley tendered his resignation on March 1, 1985. In a surprise move, the board selects the first nonlife-term trustee, Louis Batson, Jr., as chairman replacing state Senator James Waddell. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 256, citing board minutes, 29 June 1985, page 29.)
  • July 1: Dean Walter T. Cox becomes the tenth president of Clemson University, replacing Bill Atchley, whose resignation becomes effective this date. He will serve 249 days in this capacity. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 257.)
  • July 29: President Walter T. Cox places Vice President of Business and Finance Melvin Barnette on medical leave. Within three months Barnette will be fired. But not before campus security is removed from his purvue and a new safety director selected as James Brummitt is let go. Cox also supports awarding a year-long sabbatical to former President Bill Atchley at a cost of $100,000. Cox also accepts responsibility for making an oral contract of three years with former athletic director Bill McLellan at $68,000 per annum. McLellan accepts a forced retirement. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 257.)
  • September 8: Sponsored by Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, the 15th annual (according to TAPS) First Friday parade features twenty-five floats, Tiger Band, with basketball coach Cliff Ellis serving as Grand Marshall, and CBS Sports top broadcasting duo, Brent Musberger and Ara Parsegian, as crowd favorites. The pep rally at the Amphitheatre is followed by what TAPS 1986 described as "the first outdoor concert in Clemson's history", (an assertion that is open to debate!), as two bands, The Producers, and The Heartfixers, perform in front of a crowd estimated by TAPS to be between 5,000 and 7,000. (TAPS 1986, Volume 76, page 27). As the first First Friday parade was held in September, 1974, the TAPS writer's math lacks something to be desired.
  • September 9: Esther and Ken Revis- Wagner take possession of the keys to Nick's.
  • September 14: Clemson plays at Virginia Tech, winning, 20-17.
  • September 21: The Tigers host Georgia, but lose in the Valley, 13-20.
  • September 28: Clemson loses at home to Georgia Tech, 3-14.
  • October 5: Clemson plays night game at Kentucky, losing, 7-26.
  • October 12: The Tigers defeat Virginia, 27-24, in Memorial Stadium.
  • October 14: The Board of Trustees announce that Max Lennon will be the eleventh president of Clemson University, taking over from Walter T. Cox. Lennon, a North Carolina native, is currently vice president for agriculture administration at The Ohio State University. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 258 citing board minutes, 14 October 1985, page 46.)
  • October 19: Clemson travels to Duke for a 21-9 win.
  • October 26: Clemson hosts N.C. State, winning, 39-10.
  • October: By the end of the month, one year after the death of star track athlete Augustinus "Stijn" Jaspers brought to light the distribution of drugs by coaches, the following participants in the passion play are gone from campus: President Bill Atchley, athletic director Bill McLellan, Board of Trustees chairman James Waddell, vice president of business and finance Melvin Barnette, director of public safety James Brummitt, coaches Stanley Narewski, Samuel Colson and Jack Harkness, and, of course, athlete Jaspers. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, pages 257-258.) The final autopsy report finds the cause of death to be heart failure; the drugs were incidental. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 253, citing articles in The Greenville News, Greenville, South Carolina, 26, 31 March 1985.)
  • November 2: The Tigers down Wake Forest, 26-10, in Death Valley.
  • November 8: Groundbreaking for the Strom Thurmond Institute, attended by Vice President George H. W. Bush. Four inch button proclaims "George Bush and I dug it together". Late appearance of the CU "Flaming Toilet" logo.
  • November 9: North Carolina edges the Tigers, 20-21, in Chapel Hill.
  • November 16: Maryland defeats Clemson, 31-34, in Memorial Stadium.
  • November 23: Clemson defeats South Carolina in Columbia, 24-17, and accepts a bid to the Independence Bowl.
  • December 7: The Lady Tigers Basketball team secures win in their 200th game, a 62-61 defeat of South Carolina.
  • Final year for Tiger Band's "pith helmet" look uniform.
  • December 21: In the Tiger's first bowl appearance since the end of probation, they meet the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana., but lose, 20-13, for a season record of 6-6, 4-3 in conference for third place in the ACC.



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