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1989 in Clemson History

Events that occurred in 1989:

  • Some 300 friends of The Clemson Little Theatre help purchase the old movie theatre on Mechanic Street in Pendleton. With dedicated work of many volunteers and generous patrons, the facilities are renovated into the beautiful art moderne Pendleton Playhouse and Cox Hall.
  • January 2: The Tigers defeat the Oklahoma Sooners in the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida, 13-6, for a season record of 10-2, 6-1 in conference for the ACC championship. Game kicks-off at 1:30 p.m. Post-season rankings are eighth in the United Press International, ninth in the Associated Press, and tenth in the USA Today.
  • February: The City of Clemson decides to design and build a new city hall facility from scratch, but quietly pursues property owner Ernest Willis' proposed lease to the city of the College Avenue buildings that house the Tiger Town Tavern. There is no clear plan for the structure, however, and the Chamber of Commerce is not informed.
  • February 18: Two students, playing a sort of game of "chicken" on the Seneca River trestle over Lake Hartwell, lose the game at 12:30 a.m. when northbound Southern Railway freight train No. 222 catches them too far from shore. Scott David Dean, of Alexandria, Virginia, leaps off the bridge but hits rocks under the water close to shore and dies in twenty minutes. Engineer Don Trexler is unable to avoid second man, James Frank Gilliland IV, 20, of Anderson, who is hit by the lead locomotive and killed instantly. A third student gets out of the way in time to survive. (The Tiger, Friday, February 24, 1989, Vol. 82, No. 18, page 2; interview with Trexler, 2007).
  • February 22: A Pennsylvania man is arrested and charged with stealing books after a campus chase involving three assistant psychology professors and an unidentified student. John Henry Foutz Jr., 37, is held at the Pickens County Law Enforcement Center without bond, charged with two counts of petit larceny, one count of receiving stolen goods, which includes possession of stolen goods. Ben Stephens, an assistant professor of psychology, said he saw the suspect leaving his office Wednesday morning with some books. When the man tried to explain that he had been sent for the books by the department head, Stephens, suspicious, asked him to accompany him to the department head's office. "At this point the man took off running," said Stephens. He gave chase, yelling "Stop this guy, stop this guy!" A University student, hearing the alert, tackled the suspect. "It was the best flying tackle I had ever seen," said Stephens. The suspect regained his footing and began to run again, only to be stopped by Tom Alley and Patty Conner-Green, assistant psychology professors. Approximately 300 books were found in Foutz' care, most of them biology, chemistry and biochemistry books. Some of the volumes have been traced to the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg, Limestone College, Furman University, Central-Wesleyan College, Bob Jones University, Garrett Community College in Maryland, and the University of Delaware. "If those two groups hadn't intervened he [the suspect] would have gone," Stephens said. Stephens said that he would like to meet the student who tackled Foutz. "I'd be happy to buy him a beverage," he said. (Reid, David, staff writer, "Suspect charged with book thefts", The Tiger, Friday 3 March 1989, Volume 82, Number 19, page 1.)
  • March 3: The Tiger publishes C. Mark Sublette's op-ed piece about the dangers of trestle trespassing on page 5 ("Trestle walking tempting, too dangerous to attempt", Volume 82, Number 19).
  • March 20: At the Monday night meeting, legal representation for the Tiger Town Tavern forces the Clemson city council to admit that they are trying to acquire the Tiger Town lease.
  • March 21: The Greenville News carries coverage of the council meeting.
  • March 22: The Clemson Messenger carries similar coverage of the Clemson city attempt to take-over the Tiger Town Tavern lease.
  • March 29: A grassroots letter-writing campaign is initiated to convince the City of Clemson that the loss of the institution of the Tiger Town Tavern is not in the community's best interest. Within three weeks, the city will be inundated with responses from loyal Clemson T3 patrons and fans, and the city quietly folds the tent on its attempt to gain control of the Tiger Town property. The city never gives a count of how many responses they received. Suffice it to say, it was more than THEY had anticipated!
  • Spring: Fort Hill Presbyterian Church begins construction on a new 600-seat sanctuary and conversion of the old one one into a fellowship hall. (McMahon, Sean Howard, "Country Church and College Town: A History of Fort Hill Presbyterian Church, 1895-1995", pages 182-183.)
  • April 22: The Strom Thurmond Institute is dedicated in a 2 p.m. ceremony. Keynote speakers are Vice President Dan Quayle and Senator Strom Thurmond. The University Symphonic Band performs. (Aucoin, Adrienne, news editor, "Thurmond Institute dedication scheduled", The Tiger, Friday 21 April 1989, Volume 82, Number 24, page 1.) Self Auditorium on the first floor is named for The Self Foundation of Greenwood, South Carolina, for their generous support of the Strom Thurmond Institute Construction Campaign.
  • June 5: The Oconee Community Theatre building, the former Oconee Theater movie house in Seneca, is struck by lightning and burns. The new Seneca City Hall will be erected on the site.
  • June 10: The Carillon Garden is dedicated.
  • September 2: Ranked twelve in the Associated Press, Clemson shuts out Furman in home opener, 30-0.
  • September 9: Tenth-ranked Tigers defeat the sixteenth-ranked Seminoles in a Tallahassee night game, 34-23.
  • September 14: At a press conference, it is announced that a routine inspection of Littlejohn Coliseum has found cracks in the roof and that a consultant has recommended that it be condemned. (Boland, Cameron, staff writer, "Concert committee to buy structural support system for Littlejohn lighting", The Tiger, Friday 11 October 1991, page 11.)
  • September 16: Ranked seventh, Clemson beats Virginia Tech, 27-7, in a night game in Blacksburg.
  • September 23: Seventh-ranked Tigers defeat Maryland (1-2) on Frank Howard Field, 31-7. Kickoff at noon. (Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Saturday 23 September 1989, page D4.)
  • September 30: Clemson, ranked seventh, loses at Duke, 17-21. Fort Hill Presbyterian Church holds final worship service in old sanctuary, congregation moves to new sanctuary in mid-service, a single piper bringing them in with "Amazing Grace", and then singing the final hymn accompanied by the new pipe organ. (McMahon, Sean Howard, "Country Church and College Town: A History of Fort Hill Presbyterian Church, 1895-1995", pages 183-184.)
  • October 7: The Tigers, ranked fifteenth, defeats Virginia, 34-20, in Memorial Stadium.
  • October 14: Fourteenth-ranked Clemson loses to Georgia Tech, 14-30, in Death Valley.
  • October 21: Unranked Tigers meet twelfth-ranked N.C. State in Raleigh, winning, 30-10.
  • October 28: Ranked twenty-second, Clemson defeats Wake Forest in Memorial Stadium, 44-10.
  • November 4: The Tigers, ranked twenty-first, defeat North Carolina in a road trip, 35-3.
  • November 11: Fort Hill Presbyterian Church dedicates new sanctuary with special morning service, luncheon, and afternoon organ dedication and recital by church organist, and Anderson College professor of music, Steve Grant. (McMahon, Sean Howard, "Country Church and College Town: A History of Fort Hill Presbyterian Church, 1895-1995", pages 183-184.)
  • November 18: Ranked by the A.P. at fifteenth, the Tigers crush the Gamecocks, 45-0, in Columbia.
  • November 26: The Rolling Stones perform in Death Valley.
  • December 1: Littlejohn Coliseum reopens for basketball after repairs are made to some welds in the steel roof support structure, but rock group sound equipment will not be permitted to be hung from the overheads until the major renovations of the 2000s. (Clemson World, "Stadium, si! Littlejohn, no!", Winter 1990, Volume 42, Number 4, page 19.)
  • December 8: Sophomore Shannon Gill, 20, of Orlando, Florida, falls approximately 27 feet as she attempts to climb outside from one window to another on the third floor of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house on campus at about 1 a.m. and dies. An autopsy report indicated that Gill had a blood alcohol content of 0.17 at the time of her death. In South Carolina a person is considered legally intoxicated at 0.10. Pickens County coroner Mitchell Davis ruled the death accidental. Police found no foul play, said John McKenzie, assistant director of public safety for the university. Alpha Tau Omega was found in violation of the university's alcohol for student organizations, however, and the University's Office of Student Development suspends ATO's charter for one year. The national organization also suspends the local chapter's charter. The group can apply for readmission as an organized fraternity in January 1991. The university's alcohol policies, already under review before the coed's death, are modified under a proposal by the university alcohol and drug abuse committee, and accepted by the administration. Under the new policy, alcohol may still be served at some student functions, but under tighter restraints to ensure that university rules are observed, as are state alcohol and fire safety laws. Beer kegs are now prohibited, and trained party managers must be present at all parties with alcohol, and stricter penalties for non-compliance are now in place. ('News Front", Clemson World, Spring 1990, Volume 43, Number 1, page 8.)
  • December 18: First episode of The Simpsons airs, on Fox Network.
  • December 30: Clemson, ranked fourteenth, shuts down Heisman Trophy finalist Major Harris as the Tigers defeat the seventeenth-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers, 27-7, in the 45th Mazda Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. Tigers' season record is 10-2, 5-2 in conference for third in the ACC. Post-season polls place Clemson twelfth (Associated Press and USA Today) and eleventh (United Press International). This was Danny Ford's last game as Clemson's head coach.

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