Phillips’ presence on sideline might jeopardize Clemson’s coaching search

By Marc Hudgens  |   Monday, October 20, 2008  |  Comments( 10 )

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Was there anything inherently wrong with athletic director Terry Don Phillips standing among the players and coaches during Clemson’s 21-17 loss to Georgia Tech in Death Valley on Saturday, just five days after the dismissal of longtime head coach Tommy Bowden?

According to the fans and Phillips himself, no.

“I have always come to the sidelines at some point during a game
 my entire career as an athletic director,” he said after the game. “(Interim) Coach (Dabo) Swinney came to the end of the team box where I was
 standing, I did comment about the holding against a Clemson offensive 
lineman on the fourth-and-12 play at the end of the game. That
 frustration was directed at the call, and not towards anything our coaching 
staff or players had done.”

Understandable; however, it was a little too much of a Jerry Jones action. And perception, not reality, can hurt Clemson come December, although the reality appears to be nothing but positive.

“The biggest thing I wanted to accomplish was unity, embracing some things, creating some pride in doing the little things right,” Swinney said.

But what are head coaching prospects thinking? Particularly those who may already be top head coaches looking for a change of scenery? Do they see nothing wrong with their potential boss stalking the sidelines? Or would this situation make them uncomfortable and turn them away from considering Clemson as their new home? Your best head coaches, in all likelihood, want to be the Man on the sidelines. They command total control on game day, and having your boss alongside takes away from that. Who wants to work for a boss who's right there all the time?

Clemson is at a crossroads in its program. If it hires the right guy, Clemson will start collecting ACC titles. If it hires down (which it’s done since 1990), the program will be stuck in mediocrity for a while longer.

For now, Phillips, despite his good intentions, should leave the sideline, let the coach do his job and focus on finding a long-term Bowden replacement.
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About Marc Hudgens

Marc Hudgens has been with RealFootball365 since 2007, covering college football, specifically Clemson and Oregon. He also writes for covering the ACC. He enjoys the acidic wit of Hunter S. Thompson, is a freelance graphic designer and has written several screenplays. He...
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CommentsComments: 10  |  Sign Up  View all comments
11:04 AM
I think too much ado is being made out of an AD being on the sideline. Dabo Swinney is responsible for getting this team ready,...
Badin DC
11:57 AM
Didn't you read what Phillips was doing on the sidelines. It's in your article. He wasn't there to tell the coaches what to do...
Marc Hudgens
02:19 PM
The point of this column isn't whether Phillips on the sideline looks good or bad to me, nor is it about his stated reasons for...
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