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October 13, 2008

Bowden won't finish 10th season at Clemson

Clemson relieved Tommy Bowden of his coaching duties Monday morning.

Tommy Bowden went 72-45 in 10 seasons at Clemson.
Assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney will serve as interim coach against Georgia Tech on Saturday, multiple sources told TigerIllustrated.com, a Rivals.com Web site.

Offensive coordinator Rob Spence has also been fired.

Clemson has scheduled a news conference for 5:15 p.m. Eastern today.

Bowden was rumored to be a candidate at Arkansas after last season, but he signed a four-year contract extension in December. The contract would have kept him at Clemson through 2014. There reportedly is a $4 million buyout.

Bowden is 72-45 in 10 seasons at Clemson, including a 42-31 mark in the ACC. He became coach at Clemson in 1999, replacing Tommy West, after leading Tulane to an unbeaten season in 1998.

Clemson has not won the ACC since 1991, the year before Florida State joined the league. Under Bowden, Clemson never has finished higher than third in the ACC or second in the ACC Atlantic Division.

Bowden never had a losing season at Clemson and never finished below .500 in conference play. He went 7-2 against rival South Carolina and won four of the past five games against his father, Bobby, at Florida State.

A 12-7 loss to Wake Forest on Thursday was Bowden's last game. The loss dropped the Tigers to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC. Clemson which had 16 returning starters was ranked ninth in The Associated Press preseason Top 25 but fell out of the poll by the end of September.

The Tigers began the season with a 34-10 loss to Alabama before winning three consecutive games. Clemson then sustained consecutive losses to Maryland and Wake Forest.

Last Friday, a day after Clemson amassed only 128 total yards against Wake Forest, Bowden benched Cullen Harper for sophomore Willy Korn. Harper was the ACC's player of the year last season, but has thrown six interceptions and four touchdowns this season. Despite returning tailbacks James Davis and C.J. Spiller, Clemson ranks only sixth in the ACC in rushing. Davis and Spiller combined for 35 rushing yards against Wake Forest.

The Tigers were within a game of reaching the ACC title game last season before a 20-17 home loss to Boston College. The Tigers led 10-3 going into the fourth quarter and 17-13 with 5:28 to go before Eagles quarterback Matt Ryan led the game-winning drive in the final two minutes.

For more Clemson coverage, check out TigerIllustrated.com.



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