I'm sure nearly everyone has seen the Avenue of Champions blogs by now. Its a collection of guys who are respected on TigerIllustrated, that are totally disgusted with Terry Don Phillips' leadership of the Athletic Department. They get alot of press because they spam the various boards with their posts, which are intentionally controversially written to stir up disgust in other Tiger fans.
I have the same information to go on that they do, and could we could write the same posts, I just don't write them because I don't have information to present an alternate point-of-view to check the argument. I also don't have the strong feelings of hatred against TDP that I had for Robinson, so I have not subscribed to the vitriolic posts about him. Alot of what they say is slanted, but I have commented on their posts and agreed to an extent.
Like most of you, I want the Golf team to do well, the soccer team, rowing, etc....but I really don't give a shit if the volleyball team loses, I'm not losing sleep over it. Ever seen us make a major post here on any minor sport besides track? I evaluate an AD on the facilities upgrades he makes, the hires, and whether he can keep good people in the Big 3 sports. In that regard I give TDP a B-/C+ borderline grade.
There are facts in the posts the AOC has made, none of which I can flat out tell you are totally false. But, it does depend on your POV and what you have to go on. LW and Ard give information out on their boards, and their opinion influences others. They dont have the whole story either most of the time. If those people are looking for a reason to fire somebody, it just stirs up more hate.
Recently during practice, Dabo and Napier got into a very heated argument in front of the players. I heard this from a friend who works at Clemson, so it is heresay. That is corroborated by LW, as far as he knows (press is not allowed at practice) and I generally trust what LW has to say. So I'll take it on faith, you can make your mind up for yourself. The gist of the argument seems to be about the performance of the offense on the field in practice and in games so far, and there was some insubordination in front of the players and other coaches, and yes Andre Powell did have to split them up. It was also mentioned that Pearman did go to Dabo and tell him to stop changing the plays after the Maryland game, despite reports to the contrary this week that there was no changing of the plays. My post over on the Raycom blogs gives my opinion and views on that, so for whatever reason, neither of them is confirming it, and that means one or both might hang for it later.
Recently TDP was interviewed about his decisions and the overall performance of the program. I think this information should be shared since the AOC is presenting their side.
On the loss of Kyle Bunn, Clemson pitching coach, I'll paraphrase his quotes:
"We include outside compensation (youth camps, New ERA contracts) in the coaches compensation, we also pay their insurance when most schools do not. If you add that in, we're atop the conference. He did not leave because his pay was unfair compared to the rest of the ACC. We compare what we can do to the ACC."
Kyle did not have a paid car for his recruiting trips, and he did leave for more money at Alabama. What disturbs me most of all is comparing us to the ACC in baseball, even if we're in a very strong baseball conference. We have to keep good people when our baseball program has been rocky of late.
There was far too much comparison of Clemson's economical situation to the ACC in this entire interview, over all the big sports.
He went on to say that Bunn's replacement DOES get a car allowance, and is bumped up in salary. My question is why can't we make baseball generate more revenue? We've had good marketing people at Clemson before havent we? I think we should take a Minor League approach here, get some people in to try to build up the revenue stream. Its always going to be true that football and basketball bring home the bacon, but baseball can be a revenue-generator too, at least enough to keep itself afloat.
On the Tony Eubanks situation:
"Coming to Clemson was the first time I'd seen a Chaplain housed with the football office. There are legal issues there. Others had come in from other religious faiths and protested, and I told them to file a complaint, but I did nothing to interfere. I did not try to eliminate his position altogether.
Tony was under the FCA, and FCA is recognized by CU. The CU policy is that only recognized ministries can use University facilities. He has since been retained and kept a room where he can minister and advise as much as he wants.
There was an issue with NCAA Compliance in this respect, because he could do something in mentoring that he would be breaking a rule for, especially when not recognized by the University. That has been cleared up."
There was a contentious period there between him and Dabo on Eubanks, and he takes responsibility for not communicating these issues clearly to him. Even with Katie Hill around as the budget taskmaster and Becky Bowman as the NCAAnalretentiverules bitch, I would accept this explanation.
On facilities upgrades:
"I met with President Barker on the day i was hired and we started planning the WEZ from scratch. We needed upgrades and we got it done. At the time the baseball stadium had not been changed significantly, and the Indoor Track facility had just been graded.
OP wants a new basketball facility, and we're looking at 10-15 million for that. I met with Robert Ricketts about this a few days ago, and we've got to contact the architects and start forming plans...A new gym, weight rooms, and room for offices to be moved. Its an investment we probably need to make."
I honestly have to give TDP a pass on any facilities argument. Some people apparently want everything done right now, and TDP got more done in the last few years than Robinson ever did. He might not be a "Dollar" Bill McLellan as an AD when it comes to money raising, but he has done things for the Big 3 and that keep me satisfied (note i did not say 'happy'). Clemson was hit by the SEP fallout as well as a couple million in lost sponsorships, along with the economical downturn. If not for those conditions, the nickel-and-diming of the AD would get more flak from both of us.
Is Tiger Field better than SC's or LSU's brand new baseball stadiums? Well no, but its considerably better now than it was and is comparable when you look at what is around the southeast....and yes I have seen several. Our's is still nicer than most of the SEC and ACC. There are a couple things they could do to it, and given what has been done, I'm sure they will be done.
On basketball, Littlejohn was a dump when I started at Clemson, and by the time I left it had been refurbished and the Annex built. Now I would call it nice. I don't know where they want to PUT a new stadium, but if thats the next thing on their list to fix, then go for it. Make the commitment to OP and keep that man here.
As far as an indoor practice facility for football, its not really needed other than recruiting. I parked beside LSU's every day for years, and they probably don't use it more than 3-4 days a year. You have to practice in the August heat (conditioning), and you have to practice in some rain, because you might play in both. I don't think its a big deal, but I personally believe Jervey and McFadden should be replaced altogether.
-On the point of him not appearing at IPTAY functions, he talked about his poor health (back surgery and ER visits), but admitted that he does need to rethink sending Billy D to every single event instead of himself. He does point out, rightly, that we want to hear Purnell/Swinney/Leggett instead of himself though.
-Alot of the interview rested on the football program, and TDP comes across as weak in most of his arguments, and he's obviously spinning things the positive way (as any AD would after a 2-3 start). He points out that we expanded the support staff per Swinney's request and the assistant's salaries by $600,000.
He did say that he thought Bowden was underpaid.
"So if you look over the period of time up until he got that last year and got that good bump, he was about half-a-million less per year than were some of his counterparts in the league who weren't performing as well as we were performing.
"So there's a margin there over a four- or five-year period where it was probably two or two-and-a-half million dollars of savings in salary, simply because he was making substantially less than probably where he should've been."
He knows that he sinks or swims with Dabo Swinney, however. He admitted that much.
So now I've tried to look at both sides of everything, you can make your own mind up.