Former Clemson football coach and Athletics Director Frank Howard not only won six ACC Championships for the Tigers, but he is also responsible for creating one of the most iconic traditions in college football.
A friend of Howard’s gave him a rock from Death Valley, Calif. in the 1960s. Howard used it as a door stop in his office and eventually passed it along to IPTAY executive director Gene Willimon to discard in 1966.
Instead, Willimon put the rock at the top of the hill in the East end zone where Clemson players run onto the field prior to games.
Howard told his team, “If you're going to give me 110 percent, you can rub that rock. If you're not, keep your filthy hands off it.”
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The tradition has continued for decades and helps make up Clemson’s entrance, which is known as the “most exciting 25 seconds in college football.”
About this series: The inaugural edition of The State newspaper was published Feb. 18, 1891. In anticipation of the 125th anniversary, the Palmetto section and this section at thestate.com are recounting each day how The State covered newsmakers and events vital to South Carolina’s history.