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Before the 1969 season started Frank Howard announced that it would be his last as head coach. And on December 3, 1969 Coach Howard called a press conference to announce his retirement.
Many do not know that Frank Howard had selected a successor at Clemson. Howard hand elected Bill Peterson of FSU to be the Clemson coach. However, just a couple of days before Peterson was introduced, Peterson changed his mind. Peterson would eventually move on and coach Rice a year later.
Frank Howard had to start over with his search, and he eventually narrowed in on Hootie Ingram. During Howard’s last three years, Clemson went 14-15-1 and Hootie Ingrim went 12-21 in his first three years at Clemson.
The irony of all those coaching changes in the 1970’s was that during Howard’s last year as head coach, Bear Bryant brought his Alabama Crimson Tide to Clemson. And who do you think Bryant had as a captain on his team? You guessed it…Danny Ford.
Howard retired from coaching on December 10, 1969, after 39 years on the Clemson coaching staff, 30 of which were as head coach. He was also athletic director during this time 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 rolled around.
An era at Clemson University ended June 30, 1974, when Frank Howard officially retired from the payroll. Another era ended January 26, 1996, when Howard died at the age of 86 and forever silenced a voice that had been synonymous with Clemson for nearly 65 years.
Although he retired from all official duties in 1974, he never quit coming to the office and he never stopped representing Clemson in a manner which continued to win friends for the place that was so dear to his heart.
Shortly after his retirement the Clemson Board of Trustees named the playing surface of Memorial Stadium as "Frank Howard Field" in honor of his long service to the university. It was only the third time that a building or installation had been named by the trustees for a living person.
Over the years, Howard has been inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and the Clemson Hall of Fame (charter member in both), as well as the Helms Athletic Hall of Fame and the State of Alabama Hall of Fame. On December 5, 1989 he joined an elite group in the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. The ceremonies took place in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
Scott Rhymer can be reached at email@example.com