Tommy Bowden's resignation Monday ends the up-and-down reign of a coach who came in with much optimism, clearly had a positive impact on many of his players, but failed to live up to high expectations of fans, players and Clemson University. Though Bowden's departure may leave the team in turmoil and make this disappointing season a total loss, it offers hope of a brighter future.
During his Clemson career, Bowden had one consistent failing: He fell well short of the consistent winning that Clemson fans expected when he was hired in 1998. Bowden brought a high-profile name, a promising two-year stint at Tulane University, and a winning pedigree. Fans expected him to bring a national title to Clemson, and he delivered something less than that in nearly a decade of recruiting and coaching. ...
In college athletics, the fans and the school demand success. Bowden fell short of those demands. Clemson owes it to the program's ardent supporters to conduct a thorough, national search to bring to the university a football coach who can lead this team where it endeavors to go.
While some will decry the money spent on Bowden's buyout -- $3.5 million over six years -- and the potential millions of dollars it will take to attract the right coach, it's a comfort to know those expenditures won't negatively affect Clemson's educational mission. It's also worth noting that such an investment can bring benefits far beyond a winning record on the football field.
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The cuts to the state budget are not limited to the powerful figureheads of state leadership in Columbia. Those cuts will come cascading down to the local scene, hitting hard the educational systems that prepare our students for the future.
An announced across-the-board cut of 3 percent has already been felt by the K-12 public school system as well as higher education in the form of USC Aiken and Aiken Technical College. Now with anticipated revenues for the remainder of the budget year declining, education administrators are finding that their deep cuts may have to go deeper still.
The General Assembly will likely be called back into session in the next few weeks to deal with the projected shortfall, and state agencies, including education, should be prepared to take a toll that may make its way into the classroom. ...
The mid-year cuts are hitting hard at higher education as well. USC Aiken is looking at cuts of $1 million or more, while Aiken Tech is expecting to have to combat the loss of as much as $750,000.
As legislators prepare to make difficult choices, we would simply ask that they not short change the students.
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