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1986 in Clemson history

Events that occurred in 1986

  • A Trivial Pursuit game-playing craze sweeps the campus. (TAPS 1986, Volume 76, page 16).
  • Harlan E. McClure, head of Clemson's school of architecture since 1955, retires and is succeeded by James F. Barker.
  • Lester's Burgers & Spirits opens in the former Strawberry's Restaurant location at 104 Seneca Road in Clemson.
  • January 6: The Clemson drug / coaches scandal comes to a close on this date, when Jack Harkness, pleads guilty to charges of distributing steroids to athletes, and is given two suspended 18-month sentences, fined $1,000 and ordered to reimburse SLED for $1,000 for the agency's cost to extradite him back to South Carolina from Canada. (SPORTS PEOPLE; Felker Is Eyed)
  • January 28: On Mission STS-51, the shuttle Challenger launch package explodes 73 seconds into the flight, killing all astronauts on board. The $1.2 billion dollar craft was done in by a $900 synthetic rubber O-ring. President Ronald Reagan cancels his State of the Union address to instead speak to the grief-stricken nation, especially the children. Subsequently, 1972 Clemson graduate U. S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Deborah Burnette, Director of the Navy's Southeast Office of Information in Atlanta, becomes the public information officer for the Navy's salvage mission. (McKenzie, Jack A., "Picking Up The Pieces", Clemson World, February 1987, Volume 40, Number 1, page 18.)
  • February 23-February 24: Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers perform at Littlejohn Coliseum, with opening act, Star Search winner Sawyer Brown. (TAPS 1986, Volume 76, pages 56-57.)
  • March 6: Final day for President Walter T. Cox in top office, his 249th day in charge of his beloved 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 257.)
  • April 1: James L. Lucas, III, Class of 1973, Tiger band grad student member who produced the 1974 edition of The Unhymnal, dies of a heart attack, age 34.
  • April 2: The Clemson University Concert Series presents the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Littlejohn Coliseum at 8 p.m. Robert Shaw is music director and conductor, Louis Lane is principal guest conductor, with William Fred Scott as assistant conductor.
  • April 5: The Board of Trustees meets to confer the title of president emeritus on Walter T. Cox. In a certificate of appreciation, board chairman Louis Batson, Jr. writes:
"During his eight months as Clemson's tenth president, Walter Thompson Cox moved swiftly and decisively and with patient firmness of purpose to restore the confidence of the faculty, staff and student body, to boost the morale of alumni and friends, and to reestablish with the people and leaders of South Carolina Clemson's reputation for high standards and sound management."
  • April 26: An early morning power test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant at Prypiat, Ukraine, goes wrong resulting in the explosion of a nuclear reactor, the worst radioactive accident in history.
  • August: Tiger Band adopts new "Shako" uniforms with cut-away tunics. The "pith helmet" look is no more.
  • August 23: Prank goes wrong when student sets off a 12" X 3" cannon device about 30 minutes into a Midnight movie, the "Rocky Horror Picture Show", being shown in the amphitheatre. Intended as a noise-maker, the device bursts, showers steel shrapnel for 100 feet, injures three, Tom Fitzgerald, 20, of Salisbury, Maryland, Tim Crawford, 22, of Hanahan, and Vartouhi Yeranos, 20, of Danbury, Connecticut. Prankster Fitzgerald is charged with two counts of assault and battery with intent to kill and one count of damaging by means of an explosion, the warrants signed by Pickens County Magistrate Roger Crowe being held until Fitzgerald is released from Oconee Memorial Hospital. ("Student Is Charged", The Messenger, Clemson, South Carolina, Wednesday, 27 August 1986, Volume 33, Number 4, page 1-A.)
  • September 6: Max Lennon is sworn in as the 11th president of Clemson University in a 10:30 a.m. ceremony in the Outdoor Theatre. Governor Dick Riley, Senators Strom Thurmond and Earnest Hollings and representatives of learned societies and universities from around the world attend the event, which is followed by a barbecue on the lawn. ("Lennon Will Be Sworn In Next Week", The Messenger, Clemson, South Carolina, Wednesday, 27 August 1986, Volume 33, Number 4, page 1-A.)
  • September 13: Virginia Tech, coached by Bill Dooley, upsets the Tigers in Clemson home opener, 14-20. Tech will go 10-1-1. This is one of just two season opening losses in Danny Ford's Clemson career, and the Tigers will lose just two games this season and go on to win the ACC. A blocked punt by Virginia Tech's Mitch Dove is a key play in the game. Clemson's punter this day was Bill Spiers, who will go on to a 10-year major league baseball career.
  • September 20: The Tigers defeat number fourteen-ranked Georgia, 31-28, in Athens.
  • September 27: Clemson defeats Georgia Tech, 27-3, in Atlanta.
  • October 4: The Tigers blank the Citadel in Death Valley, 24-0.
  • October 11: Twentieth-ranked Tigers play night game at Virginia, winning, 31-17.
  • October 18: Seventeenth-ranked Tigers defeat Duke, 35-3, in Memorial Stadium.
  • October 25: David Lee Roth performs a live concert at Littlejohn Coliseum as part of his Eat em' and Smile world tour.
  • October 25: Sixteenth-ranked Clemson goes to Raleigh to meet twentieth-ranked N.C. State. Wolfpack wins, 3-27.
  • November 1: Clemson plays at Wake Forest, wins, 28-20.
  • November 8: The Tigers defeat the Tarheels in Death Valley, 38-10. The Tigers wear all-orange uniforms for the twelfth time.
  • November 15: In a game played in Baltimore, fifteenth-ranked Clemson and Maryland tie, 17-17.
  • November 22: the nineteenth-ranked Tigers and the Gamecocks tie in Death Valley, 21-21. Tigers will have 8-2-2 season, 5-1-1 in conference, for first place in the ACC.
  • December 27: Christmas comes two days late for the Tigers as they win a bowl game for the first time since the 1982 Orange Bowl. Clemson holds off a second-half rally by the Stanford Cardinals in the 42nd Mazda Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, to win 27-21. It is sweet icing on an 8-2-2 season, 5-1-1 in conference to reclaim the ACC crown. Post-season, the Tigers are ranked seventeenth in the Associated Press, nineteenth in the United Press International, and eighteenth in the USA Today.

1985 The 1980's 1987