The State newspaper recently sat down with Clemson Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich to discuss a variety of topics. Here is a portion of the conversation:
Question: Where are you from a facilities standpoint? Are there still improvements that need to be made?
Radakovich: I don’t know that you’re ever satisfied with where you are as it relates to facilities. There’s always the next new idea. In October of 2013 we went to our Board of Trustees and kind of gave them these four or five facilities we wanted to get done, and we almost hit the mark of after four years having them done. We had a little hiccup with our tennis facility, which is under construction right now. It’ll be ready come August of 2018, so very excited about that for our tennis program.
In the near future, renovation of the IPTAY building, which is on the corner of Avenue of Champions and our football stadium. That’s something that they’ve looked for and been planning for a good amount of time right now. So that’s in its final stages of architectural work and, hopefully, that will begin rather shortly.
We’ve introduced softball into our program, so we had our starting meeting with our architects as it relates to that facility. I have a few more approvals to get through before we can turn some dirt. Really excited about the opportunity to bring women’s softball to Clemson.
We also have a building for our men’s and women’s soccer teams that will be placed down near our new practice field area, so those are the four facilities, one under construction and three shortly to go under construction, that are high on our list right now.
We have some remodels and some things that we’re looking to do in Jervey. We just completed that for our ACC Network obligations, and then some work in McFadden and our golf facility to help upgrade those as well.
Question: Anything planned with football facilities?
Radakovich: I think football’s in a really good spot. I think there’s some tweaking we can do. Whenever you live in a building for about a year you begin to understand what needs to be done. So I’ll be working with our football program and seeing what needs to be done. They’ve got a tremendous physical plant down there, the indoor, the Reeves center, really state of the art, second to none as it relates to the opportunity for our coaches and student-athletes to do the things they need to do on a day-to-day basis to be incredibly competitive.
Question: How much does the exposure of making the College Football Playoff three consecutive years help the athletics department?
Radakovich: I think it’s had an impact, not only athletically, but it’s had an impact throughout the entire university. The number of applications that have come in has risen steadily the last three years, broken the record each year, and I think there’s some direct correlation to just the exposure that you receive being a part of the conversation up to the selection and then the ultimate selection and being one of those four teams.
Certainly winning the championship in 2016 put it on a different level. I don’t know that you can underestimate the value of what that’s done. The Clemson brand is as strong as it’s ever been. We’ve been able to do some great things licensing wise with the paw. That brand continues to grow, not only in this region but throughout the country.
Question: How closely do you follow South Carolina and what they’re doing in Columbia?
Radakovich: Ray (Tanner) and I have known each other for well over 20 years, and I have great respect for him and what he’s doing with their programs. As an in-state school facing a number of the same challenges that we are, certainly you look and see what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. But there’s also a difference between an urban campus environment and the campus environment here at Clemson. We talk a lot about what’s right for Clemson, and some things that maybe we’re doing here might not fit there, and what they’re doing there might not fit here. So you’ve got to keep an eye on it to make sure you’re giving your student-athletes and coaches the best opportunity to be successful. But I think outside of our missions being to educate student-athletes, entertain fans, be a resource for the institution, that’s what any good athletic program does. How they go about it because of their location and things is probably a little different than ours.
Question: Has the success in football against South Carolina affected the entire athletics department? Do you all take extra pride in that?
Radakovich: Clemson didn’t close their doors when they lost five in a row to the University of South Carolina, and the University of South Carolina hasn’t closed their doors because they lost four in a row to Clemson. It’s a big point of pride amongst the fan bases, but we need to be able to continue to do things to allow all of our programs to be successful.