Curry Kirkpatrick's portrayal of Clemson was inaccurate and insulting (Paws! Oct. 23). Anyone of intelligence should realize that a Southern drawl, an agrarian background and the use of slang do not, as Kirkpatrick would like us to believe, necessarily make someone ignorant. His depiction of Clemson football coaches Frank Howard and Danny Ford as country bumpkins was superficial. It takes more than a modicum of intelligence to be a successful coach.
For the record, Clemson is anything but a "brain-dead, dung-heaped barnyard football factory." It continues to emphasize one-on-one interaction between students and professors, a dying educational approach in some other large universities, which too often turn to video to educate.
ALAN I. ARMOUR II
Dang. Until I read Kirkpatrick's article—it took me a while 'cause us Clemson graduates don't read so good—I thought Clemson was a good school in a pleasant southern community. I shore am glad he set me straight. I see now that Clemson ain't got nothing but dumb rednecks. I wish me and my Clemson friends had knowed that before we went off to graduate school at Harvard. We didn't realize that that wasn't no place for bumpkins like us.
JANE W. ROBBINS
Stone Mountain, Ga.
Thanks to Kirkpatrick for the impressive piece about Clemson football and our legendary coach, ol' Frank Howard. Kirkpatrick's account of football tradition in this small college town was accurate, and he's right—our blood does run orange. But we don't pronounce "Clemson" as "Clim-zin"; we pronounce it "Clemp-sin."
IPTAY has a couple of other secret meanings, including I Pay Ten Athletes Yearly and, on the heels of the NCAA's current investigation of Clemson football recruiting, It's Probation Time Again, Y'all.
As a Duke Blue Devil married to a North Carolina Tar Heel and living in N.C. State Wolfpack country, I swallowed my pride when my firstborn selected Clemson over several other fine universities. But when I attended my first game at Clemson, it turned out to be a nearly religious experience. I even met ol' Frank hisself, who regaled me with stories of another famous football coach, Wallace Wade, and Alabama.
Football at Clemson is Disney World and Mardi Gras through orange-colored glasses. Where else would you hear 80,000 orange kazoos play Tiger Rag in unison? If you haven't experienced a game at Clemson, you've missed the best of college football.
A number of South Carolinians view Clemson as a source of embarrassment. Incidents such as coach Danny Ford's confronting game officials with profanity, as he did on Nov. 16, 1985, in the final seconds of a 34-31 home loss to Maryland that was televised regionally on CBS, and for which he was put on probation for one year by the university and the Atlantic Coast Conference; numerous recruiting violations; and former Tiger running back Kenny Flowers's alleged sexual assault of a teammate's mother in June 1986 (Flowers was later cleared by a grand jury) have caused many of us in the state to view Clemson as the epitome of what's wrong with college football.
As mentioned in the article, earlier this year the NCAA informed Clemson that, once again, its football program is under investigation. It's time for the Tigers to clean up their act.
MICHAEL M. MILLER
When I was living in Southern California several years ago, I requested a personalized license plate that read CLEMSON. I was informed that someone already had that plate, and I ended up with the one shown in this photograph (below, left). While I agree that spotting the Tiger paw on Cape Cod is surprising, finding out that someone already has a CLEMSON plate in California is even more startling.
JILL SIGAFOOS CALABRESE (Clemson '76)