National Champions

National Champions

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 9th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

Frank Howard And Clemson's 1st Football Team


(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)

Today’s above photo from 1940 and was taken at an IPTAY meeting. In the photo, a young Frank Howard, in his first year as Head Coach at Clemson, is sampling some fried chicken along with R.G. Hamilton (on the right.)

Not many Clemson fans know R.G. Hamilton, but you should. Hamilton was the captain of Clemson's first football team in 1896. Below is some information on Clemson's first football team from an article on Clemson’s web site:

After grueling practices, the first-ever Clemson football game day finally arrived. On October 31, 1896, Clemson traveled to Furman (probably by train). George Swygert, center on the first Clemson football team, recalls the Furman game and the first season as follows:

"With Professor Riggs as our coach we got in shape fairly well. Our first game was with Furman, the biggest men I have ever seen, and believe it or not we won that game. We had a few trick plays. One was when the play ended near the side lines, our lightest end would hide the ball under his sweater and as the two teams moved toward the center of the field for the next play, he appeared to be injured, and then when things were clear, he made a bee-line for the goal. This worked maybe once a game, it worked against Furman our first game."

Very few details of the Clemson-Furman game are known, but it is known that Charlie Gentry scored Clemson's first touchdown in history. The Tigers defeated Furman 14-6 at Greenville, SC. Below is a rare photo of Clemson's first football team.


Clemson's upset win over Furman was a monumental milestone for the school. Furman was considered at the time an experienced team having played the game since 1889, (the year Clemson was founded).

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Scott Rhymer can be reached at scottrhymer.tps@gmail.com