ACC: Terry Don Phillips

Former Clemson AD to enter bowl's HOF

December, 29, 2012
Former Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips, who recently retired, is one of five men who will be inducted into this year's Chick-fil-A Bowl Hall of Fame.

Phillips joins corporate contributor Ron Allen, former Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer, former executive director Robert Dale Morgan, and former Georgia lineman Matt Stinchcomb. Honorees will be inducted in an on-field ceremony prior to the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl featuring No. 8 LSU against No. 14 Clemson. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN at 7:30 pm ET.

From the release:
Phillips retired as the Clemson athletic director in November 2012. In his 10 years in Death Valley, many of Clemson’s sports have competed for ACC and national titles while also setting a university record for collective GPA in the 2011-12 academic year. Phillips also focused on improving the athletic facilities of every sport, including the WestZone project at Memorial Stadium. Clemson appeared in the Chick-fil-A Bowl twice during Phillips’ time as athletic director. The Tigers defeated Tennessee in the 2003 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and fell to Auburn in the game’s only overtime matchup in history in 2007. Phillips was also instrumental in Clemson’s involvement in the 2008 and 2012 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games.

Established in 2002, the Chick-fil-A Bowl Hall of Fame honors former players, coaches and contributors, as well as staff and volunteers, who have had a significant impact on the Bowl. There are now 36 current members, including players such as Mike Singletary, Reggie White and Jim Kelly, and coaches including Bobby Dodd, Vince Dooley and Lou Holtz.
Clemson's hire today of former Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich as the successor to retiring AD Terry Don Phillips leaves Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson without a boss for the time being, but not without job security.

Johnson's ridiculous $10 million buyout in his contract should keep him employed -- at least for now.

Even if Georgia Tech doesn't win another game this year, odds are Johnson's job is safe this season, not only because of Georgia Tech's tight financial situation, but also because it's unlikely a new athletic director is hired in Atlanta before February or March. Radakovich said he has some loose ends to tie up in Atlanta over the next two weeks and hopes to be fully on board at Clemson by the end of November.

That's not to say Johnson's seat isn't getting warm. Georgia Tech has lost four of its last five games, fans have become disgruntled, the recruiting has been average, and the option offense has long been a target of criticsm, though not always warranted. How the next athletic director perceives all of those things will determine how much longer Johnson lasts. If the Jackets struggle next year like they did this season, then concerns over Johnson's future then would be warranted.

For now, the bigger issue is closing strong on a recruiting class that can help get the Jackets back in the Coastal Division race, and hiring a defensive coordinator to help develop that talent.

Miami searching for AD stability

October, 4, 2012
Well, this is getting awfully familiar for Miami.

The Hurricanes are searching for their third athletic director since 2008, now that Shawn Eichorst has resigned to take the same position at Nebraska. The ACC also now has its third program without an athletic director as Miami, Clemson and Boston College have hires to make.

The truth is, we hardly knew Eichorst. Terry Don Phillips and Gene DeFilippo made their marks at their respective schools. Eichorst? He was only around Miami for 18 months, and leaves no real stamp on a program that is in desperate need of some sort of stability.

Having an opportunity to return to the Big Ten must have been appealing, with an NCAA investigation hanging over the program he inherited.

It was his predecessor, Kirby Hocutt, who has been implicated in the Nevin Shapiro scandal that has sent NCAA investigators to Miami asking questions. Hocutt reportedly gave Shapiro carte blanche to Miami and its players, an allegation Hocutt denies.

It is not as if Hocutt hung around Miami for long, either. He resigned in February 2011 for the same job at Texas Tech, after spending only 2 1/2 years with the Hurricanes. It was enough time for him to fire Randy Shannon and hire Al Golden, who remains the head coach. The allegations against Miami surfaced in an explosive Yahoo! Sports report six months after Hocutt resigned.

So where does Miami go from here? Its last two athletic directors have left for jobs in bigger conferences, so you have to wonder whether the Miami position is now viewed as a stepping stone job.

That was not the case previously with Sam Jankovich and Paul Dee working long, hard years to build Miami into a major powerhouse program. There are issues to deal with to be sure, with a small booster base and an inability to shell out salaries in the highest area of the stratosphere.

Finding somebody who wants to stay for the long-term has got to be the No. 1 priority, particularly with NCAA sanctions down the road. The last thing Miami needs is somebody to cut and run for the third successive time. Who wants to roll up his or her sleeves and work hard to build on the integrity of the program? Who understands that Miami will always have the potential to be a national power despite some of the down times that may come?

Miami remains a special program, given its history, tradition and location. Now president Donna Shalala needs to find a special person to shepherd this athletic department into the unknown, with the promise that sunnier times remain ahead.
If you are looking at the job of an athletic director from a football perspective, Boston College and Clemson cannot follow the same type of blueprint when it comes to hiring their next leader.

There is no doubt the job description for athletic directors in the country has changed over the past 10 years. Business savvy and fundraising skills generally trump on-the-field credentials. You can bet Boston College and Clemson will have those two items as prerequisites.

[+] EnlargeGene Defilippo
AP Photo/ Richard ShiroEagles coach Frank Spaziani, right, had a good relationship with outgoing athletic director Gene DeFilippo. He'll have a lot to prove to the new AD.
But what has not changed -- athletic directors remain inexorably linked to the success or failure of their football programs. And Boston College and Clemson are in radically different spots right now.

Just as an example, take a look at the five finalists for Sports Business Journal's athletic director of the year. Winner Mark Hollis (Michigan State), Bill Bradshaw (Temple), Jeff Long (Arkansas), Ian McCaw (Baylor) and Dave Brandon (Michigan) not only oversaw fundraising endeavors and facility expansion projects. They all are in charge of football programs that had either banner or turnaround years in 2011. In fact, each has won wide praise for their football coaching hires.

Look even deeper at Long, who faced a major crisis this summer. Nobody much cared about all the other things he had done for the Arkansas athletic department when Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle, opening up a box of secrets and lies. How Long handled that football decision would make or break him.

So let us get back to Boston College and Clemson. Outgoing Boston College AD Gene DeFilippo did some pretty great things for the Eagles during his 15 seasons at the helm, stabilizing the athletic department after a gambling scandal while eventually steering the program from the Big East to the ACC. But the football program has been in a steady decline since going to back-to-back ACC championship games in 2007 and 2008.

After that season, DeFilippo fired coach Jeff Jagodzinski for interviewing with the New York Jets after warning the coach he might lose his job if he did so. He then hired Frank Spaziani, and the program's win total has declined in each of his three seasons and recruiting has been just average. Its 12-year bowl streak was stopped in 2011.

Spaziani enters this season on the hot seat after a 4-8 campaign, and will no longer have the protection of the man who gave him his first head coaching job. Whoever is hired as the new athletic director must look at the direction the football program is headed and evaluate whether Spaziani is the right man for the job. Given how critical football success is to the stature of an institution, Spaziani must impress his new boss from the outset.

New athletic directors have been known to try and put their stamp on a program through football. Having a good working relationship between the athletic director and football coach is huge. Ask Randy Edsall about his time working for Jeff Hathaway at UConn.

As for Clemson, outgoing athletic director Terry Don Phillips has done his share of facility upgrades, but he also has made the right coaching moves, particularly with Dabo Swinney. The Tigers might still be smarting over that Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia, but there were plenty of positives to take away from the season.

Clemson won its first ACC title since 1991 and appears to be in great shape moving forward. Recruiting has been a huge boon as well. Swinney has been given the luxury of paying top dollar for his assistants, particularly coordinators Chad Morris and Brent Venables. Combined, they make more than Swinney. The next athletic director must continue to provide the resources Swinney needs, while making sure the football program does not take a step back. Because as it stands now, football appears to be in great shape.

Whenever Clemson and Boston College make their hires, the ACC will have seen six new athletic directors hired since the summer of 2010. DeFilippo and Phillips are among the longest tenured, leaving the ACC with only three ADs who have been at their institutions for more than 10 years -- Ron Wellman at Wake Forest, Jim Weaver at Virginia Tech and Craig Littlepage at Virginia.

Change is coming, and as always, football is a priority.

Clemson AD plans to retire by July 2013

August, 9, 2012
Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips will retire at or before the end of his contract, which runs until July 2013, the school announced on Thursday.

Clemson president James F. Barker said a national search for a successor will be launched this fall, and the goal is to have one named by the time Phillips’ contract ends so there is no need to appoint an interim director.
“As I am now in the final year of my contract, I have decided to publicly announce my retirement plans, so that President Barker can have as much time and flexibility as is needed to conduct a search and ensure a smooth transition in leadership,” Phillips said in a prepared statement. “I’m very proud of what we have accomplished at Clemson, and I believe the future for the athletics program is bright.”

Phillips recently said he would not seek a contract extension this year, so it shouldn't come as a surprise. He has been at Clemson since 2002.

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 9, 2012
Some interesting stories out there today ...

ACC's lunchtime links

July, 25, 2012
It's almost time for summer camp ...
Despite a nine-game ACC schedule that will likely accompany the arrivals of Syracuse and Pitt in 2013, Clemson still plans to play its scheduled two-game series with Georgia.

Tigers athletic director Terry Don Phillips said as much last week to reporters, meaning, because of its rivalry with South Carolina, Clemson will find itself with 11 games against BCS-conference schools in 2013-14.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to visit Death Valley in 2013, with Clemson returning the favor the next season. That would likely mean just six home games for the Tigers in 2014.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney acknowledged the obstacle this could mean for his team on the field, but he is nonetheless excited to renew (or is it keep?) a rivalry.
"I ain't fired up about playing one of the top teams in the country, and we've got plenty of tough opponents, and certainly it's a game that could go either way," Swinney said, according to "But that's a game that I grew up watching. I've heard so many stories about Clemson-Georgia, and I'd love to be a part of it and have a chapter of that history.

"It's exciting for our fans and our staff and our players to play one of the best teams in the country, and a school that we're obviously close to, proximity-wise.

Dabo Swinney invests in his program

February, 16, 2012
Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has taken it upon himself -- basically out of his own pocket -- to give his assistants raises.

There is a clause in Swinney's contract stating that if he won the ACC, he would rise to a certain level from a salary standpoint among ACC coaches. When he won the 2011 title, that meant this year's contract would increase by $422,000. He is taking $265,000 of that to give to his coaches. Technically, it's an allocation -- not money he has already received. It is money he would have received -- and that is the key difference between what Swinney is doing and what Georgia coach Mark Richt did.

Regardless, it's a true investment in his program -- one I've never heard of or seen elsewhere in the college coaching ranks -- and odds are it will pay off. It is proof of the literal value of coaching stability.

Swinney's decision stems from today's announcement that the Compensation Committee of the Clemson Board of Trustees approved a proposal from athletic director Terry Don Phillips to grant salary increases totaling $450,000 for seven assistant football coaches, and the head strength coach. It will be in effect for two years, and 60 percent of that money is coming from Swinney. The remaining 40 percent, or $185,000 will be provided by the athletic department.

According to the school's release, Swinney is expected to make $1.9 million in 2012, which will rank 46th nationally according to the most recent data available to Phillips. The staff, including the head coach, is expected to rank between 12th and 15th.

“Coach Swinney has opted to invest in the stability of the program with money he earned in 2011,” Phillips said in a prepared statement. “We have a young football team returning for 2012 and 2013 and he felt it was imperative to have stability from a staff standpoint. These are all options that had been in his existing contract.”

“I am extremely grateful to the Board of Trustees for its approval of these salary increases,” Swinney said in the release. “We have a great staff and I want to do everything I can to keep it together at a critical time in our program. We have a young, but talented team and I feel we have a chance to do something very special in the near future.”

Earlier, it was announced that offensive coordinator Chad Morris would earn $1.3 million and defensive coordinator Brent Venables would earn $800,000 during the 2012 season, meaning Clemson’s nine full-time assistant coaches will earn $4.2 million.

Here is the official run-down of the remaining staff salaries recently approved by the Board of Trustees:

Joey Batson (strength coach) $200,000

Dan Brooks $310,000

Robbie Caldwell $310,000

Tony Elliott $205,000

Charlie Harbison $375,000

Marion Hobby $375,000

Danny Pearman $310,000

Jeff Scott $215,000

ACC reacts to expansion

September, 19, 2011
It was an historic weekend for the ACC, which announced it would accept Pittsburgh and Syracuse as its newest members. One of the more interesting reactions in the ACC was Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson, who, buried at the bottom of his statement, endorsed further expansion.

Here's a look at what others in the ACC are saying about the move, thanks to quotes released from their respective schools:

Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips
“This is a good decision for our conference. We are adding two programs that have won the national championship in football and been consistently outstanding in basketball. That includes Syracuse winning the national championship in 2003 and Pittsburgh’s five Sweet 16 appearances in the last decade.

"The addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh extends our footprint on the Eastern seaboard, which further enhances the national exposure of all of our universities and athletic programs.

“We can accomplish all of goals in all sports in the Atlantic Coast Conference. That most assuredly includes football. Our challenge individually as a university, as well as collectively as a league is to continue to improve in all facets of our program. That includes facility improvements and other infrastructure, and the attraction of outstanding coaches and student-athletes to our campus.”
Miami President Donna E. Shalala
“As a proud Syracuse graduate, I am delighted the Orange and our colleagues at Pittsburgh are joining the ACC. Both of these universities are good fits for the ACC academically and athletically and are led by first-rate presidents.”
Virginia AD Craig Littlepage
"During so much uncertainty in the college athletics' landscape over the past year and a half, the ACC routinely examined this very fluid situation in an effort to build upon its position among the nation's elite conferences. The ACC has considered the opportunities and decided to accept the applications for membership from two outstanding institutions that are excellent fits academically, athletically, and geographically. I am pleased that schools of the quality of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University had an interest in joining the ACC."
Maryland AD Kevin Anderson
“It’s rewarding to think that there are a number of prestigious institutions like the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University that want to become a part of what the ACC has become both on and off the field. These two institutions are a great fit for the league based on the quality of the athletics programs and based on the quality of their academic reputations.

“We already compete against Pitt and Syracuse in a number of our sports and have appreciated the quality and sportsmanship of those teams. The competition against quality programs in a number of sports will certainly enhance the experience for our student-athletes.

“From a regional standpoint, adding these two high-quality schools will enhance the marketing footprint of the league. Both Pittsburgh and New York City will offer the conference new opportunities to attract fans in all our sports. We look forward to discussions about the future of the league and would encourage a future expansion.”
Duke coach David Cutcliffe
"One thing that never wavered during this process was the confidence we had in the leadership at both the conference level with commissioner [John] Swofford and the institutional level with Dr. [Richard] Brodhead and Kevin White. Strengthening the foundation of our league has been a priority, and we've accomplished that goal. The University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University have tremendous traditions in both academics and athletics, and we are proud to have both schools join the ACC."

ACC's lunchtime links

January, 6, 2011
Psst. There's a chat at 2 p.m. today. Holla ...

ACC's lunchtime links

December, 9, 2010
"Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?" - CWG
  • If you don't have a whole new respect for Randy Shannon after reading this, tsk tsk.
  • No surprises among the lists of candidates Miami AD Kirby Hocutt has reportedly talked to or plans to.
  • You can now count Miami's recruiting class on one hand.
  • There's only one reason the Miami job is more appealing than the Florida job.
  • FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said he was caught off-guard by Urban Meyer's resignation.
  • Virginia Tech and Virginia were both recognized for their academic excellence.
  • Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has a formula to measure his defense, and Al Groh's group didn't quite measure up consistently.
  • UNC coach Butch Davis sought counseling for his players in September because he thought there was a lot of "pent-up anger" during the peak of the NCAA investigations.
  • BC running back Montel Harris is confident he'll be ready to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
  • Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips has earned a vote of confidence from university officials and there will be no change in his contract.

ACC's lunchtime links

May, 17, 2010
The schools that get links are the only ones being written about elsewhere this time of year ...

  • Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips talked to Travis Sawchik of the Post and Courier about some major issues facing the program and the ACC.
  • ACC commissioner John Swofford is also facing questions about the future of the league.
  • NC State players have been given a new court date.
  • The Miami-Notre Dame series could resume, and here are three of the more memorable games they've played.

ACC's lunchtime links

July, 14, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

  • Let's start with a tweet from ACCgridiron: Alpharetta WR Brandon Terry commits to WF
  • Matt Hayes of the Sporting News ranked the top five college football coaches in the country and not one is from the ACC. There were a few, however, who almost made the cut. Personally, I think it's unfortunate Jim Grobe isn't mentioned here. He has transformed Wake's program, won an ACC title and he's done it with what he likes to call a recruiting "puddle."
  • The South Florida Sun-Sentinel did a photo essay of the 10 most powerful people in the state of Florida. Did Randy Shannon make the cut? Tim Tebow did.
  • Dr. Loreto Jackson is a behind-the-scenes player in Clemson football, and she's leading a wellness program athletic director Terry Don Phillips believes is the first of its kind in the ACC.
  • Sure, FSU's receivers have some work to do. But quarterback Christian Ponder thinks Jarmon Fortson could be among the best to come out of the program.
  • Maryland will lose two recruits to prep school this year, but there's still plenty of reason for optimism in College Park. Like in the return game.

Spaz vs. Swinney

May, 22, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

There are two new coaches in the ACC this season, and both of them happen to be in the Atlantic Division. Boston College coach Frank Spaziani took over for Jeff Jagodzinski, and Dabo Swinney took over for Tommy Bowden in the middle of last season.

Which one will have the most success first? Here's a look at what each of them brings to the table:

  Robert E. Klein/Icon SMI
  Frank Spaziani takes over a team in the midst of an offensive transition.

Name: Frank Spaziani
Record at BC: 1-0, first season
Overall: 1-0 (Spaziani was credited with BC's 25-24 win over Navy in the 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl while serving as interim head coach following the departure of Tom O'Brien.)
Years at Boston College: 13
Previous position: Defensive coordinator
Head-coaching experience: One game as an interim head coach.
Returning players: 7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist

What he brings: Spaziani's best attributes are his down-to-earth, humble personality and ability to get the most out of his players, but he's also a very smart defensive-minded coach with a plan for the future of Boston College football. He also brings a loyalty to the program, and a guarantee that he's going to stick around. That's something he can convey to recruits, and so far it seems to be working. Spaziani has been on staff for teams that have collectively reached 20 bowl games, so he knows what it takes to get there and his nationally ranked defenses have helped BC do it.

Challenges he faces: Boston College is in the midst of a system change on offense, and is going through it without a dependable leader at quarterback. He also is tasked with keeping the team together and focused in the wake of the news that star linebacker Mark Herzlich has been diagnosed with cancer. The defense also has to replace hulking tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace, and it's uncertain how long linebacker Mike McLaughlin will be out with a ruptured Achilles.

Likelihood of pulling off a winning season: Despite the coaching staff change and several glaring question marks, the Eagles aren't starting from scratch. They've got an extremely talented offensive line, and talented running backs in Josh Haden and Montel Harris who can help take some pressure off of the new quarterback. They've also got a deep, experienced secondary and a few veteran leaders to help carry the team in Herzlich's absence. So the pieces are there to keep Boston College competitive, it's just a question of how long into the season it will take before everything clicks.

Early prediction: 5-7, 2-6 ACC

  Marvin Gentry/US PRESSWIRE
  Dabo Swinney was 4-3 as interim head coach following Tommy Bowden's resignation.

Name: Dabo Swinney
Record at Clemson: 4-3
Overall: 4-3
Years at Clemson: 6
Previous position: Wide receivers coach/assistant head coach
Head-coaching experience: Swinney was interim head coach from Oct. 13 through Dec. 1, 2008. He has been head coach since Dec. 1, 2008.
Returning players: Offense 7, defense 8

What he brings: Swinney is a salesman, and he's sold everyone in and around the program on his "all in" motto. He started the "Tiger Walk," for his first game as head coach, and his second week, he invited the Clemson students to practice and nearly 1,000 showed up. In his first road game as head coach, Swinney led the Tigers to their first win at Boston College since 1958. He's a top-notch recruiter with a lot of energy, and had the good sense to surround himself with veteran assistants who have been around a little SEC ball. He's young, confident and not afraid to make changes.

Challenges he faces: The biggest challenge is the same one his predecessor faced -- expectations. The 80,000 fans who pack Death Valley on Saturdays are still waiting for the program's first ACC title since 1991. Swinney, like athletic director Terry Don Phillips, took a chance on a young coach when he hired Billy Napier, formerly the tight ends coach, as his offensive coordinator. Swinney will turn 40 in November and Napier turns 30 in July. Together, this will be their first full season calling plays and running the offense. And right now, they haven't decided on a quarterback to lead it.

Likelihood of pulling off a winning season: Most coaches will look at Clemson's roster and, considering the talent returning, tell you there's no good reason why the Tigers' shouldn't have a winning record. Jacoby Ford, C.J. Spiller, a much improved offensive line and one scary defense make this a possible sleeper team. But they've got to settle on a quarterback and find some receivers to help out Ford.

Early prediction: 7-5, 4-4 ACC