(Photo Uploaded By Alan Cutts)
We will start the week, and President’s Day, with a humorous photo of Frank Howard with Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Robert (Bob) James at a function in the early 1970’s.
Howard retired from coaching on December 10, 1969, shortly before this picture was taken. Howard had spent 39 years on the Clemson coaching staff, 30 of which as head coach.
Upon Howard’s retirement from coaching, he was named athletic director and he kept this position until February 4, 1971, when he was named assistant to the vice president at the university, the post he held when the mandatory retirement age of 65.
More than likely, this picture was taken at an ACC function to announce Bob James as ACC Commissioner. That announcement took place in late 1970, a time in which Howard was the athletic director at Clemson.
James, a former University of Maryland football player, was named commissioner in 1971 and served in that capacity for 16 years. During his tenure, the league continued to grow in stature and became recognized as a national leader in athletics and academics, winning 23 national championships and maintaining standards of excellence in the classroom.
Howard is obviously wearing a toupee and seems to be “hamming it up” with James. I can’t confirm it, but I think Howard’s clothes may also be a part of the joke as he mixes stripes on his jacket, shirt, and tie that make him hard to look at without going cross-eyed!
Bob James was the 2nd of 4 ACC Commissioners that the conference has had since the creation of the league in 1954. James Weaver served as commissioner from 1954 until 1970 before James took over in 1971. James would serve as ACC Commissioner from 1971 until 1987, which included the addition of Georgia Tech into the league in the late 1970’s.
Gene Corrigan would replace James in 1987 and would serve for 10 years until 1997. During Corrigan’s tenure as commissioner, Florida State was added to the ACC. John Swofford followed Corrigan in 1997 and remains the ACC Commissioner to this day.
Scott Rhymer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org