Clemson Tigers: Fans of the Month- August Edition


Well, we have less than 30 days before Death Valley will be rocking with over 80,000 fans and enough orange to rival one scary night in October. And I will assure you our past Fans of the Month, Debby Laidlaw(June) and Brook Collins Conklin(July) are about to burst into a frenzy over the realization of another Clemson Tiger football season.

Now it’s time to reveal this month’s fan of the month. First, we decided to do things differently for our last month. Instead of introducing you to one fan, we decided to let you get to know five enthusiastic Tiger fans and let them tell you about their special moments or experience in their own words.

Here is our Fan Guide:

  • Dale Sullivan
  • Hometown: Fountain Inn, SC
  • College: Gardner Webb University

Dale: I have been attending Clemson football games since I was about 9 or 10 years old. It all started by going with my Dad and Rodger Terry, who was the Recreation Director in Fountain Inn at the time.  He and my Dad are long time friends. A great friend of Mr Terry’s passed away over 20 plus years ago and wanted my dad to have his tickets and continue going to games. We still continue to go to games today, but Mr.Terry doesn’t go to many games anymore because he wanted my dad, along with my three nephews, my niece, my brother, and myself to attend and enjoy the games. We are all die hard Clemson fans.

Dale Sullivan(right)with his brother Eric Sullivan(left)and his Dad, Emanuel Sullivan(middle) at Memorial Stadium.

My niece is the only one who attended Clemson and she graduated in 2014. My greatest Clemson moment was being at the 2000 Clemson vs USC game, the catch by Rod Gardner, some call it the catch II.

  • Duncan Sherer
  • Hometown: Chester, SC
  • College: Clemson(99)

Duncan: I am a second generation Clemson graduate, following in the footsteps of my father. For as long as I can remember, my family and I piled in the family truckster about a half dozen times a year and made the trek from Chester, SC to Clemson, SC to watch the Tigers play. I was born in 1975, and one of the earliest experiences I can recall today was witnessing the Wake Forest Demon Deacon assisting the Tiger with his push ups during the 82-24 thrashing administered by the Tigers on Halloween of 1981.

Duncan Sherer with one of his Clemson treasures.

My favorite new hobby is watching cherry picked vintage Tiger football games on the big screen via YouTube. (Where has this technology been my whole life?!). As much as I have enjoyed watching my Tigers over the years, I think our best years are in front of us. I am excited for all Tiger fans, as the future indeed looks bright. Go Tigers!

  • Tina Peay
  • Hometown: Walhalla, SC
  • College: HGTC

Tina: One of my favorite Clemson memories is my first time in the Tiger Den. My best friend Jesyka Huey’s inlaws bought a couple of season stadium seats and 2 Tiger Den box seats every year. We scored the Tiger Den seats for this game. It was game 3,Clemson vs. Auburn. We had been “pre-gaming it” with a few Bloody Mary’s, as much as we could, with it being a noon game. We were decked out in our best Gameday outfits, complete with paw tattoos on the cheeks. Jesyka’s husband Ed dropped us off at the West End Zone Gate. I had not been to that side of the stadium since I was a child sitting in my Dad’s company’s box. As we went through security, I glanced down at my ticket….Solid Orange. As soon as we crossed the walkway going up, the energy hit me head-on. My heart began to pound, I felt sweat run down my spine, we looked at each other with utter excitement and complete stoke. Everyone was smiling at us, as we couldn’t wipe the huge smiles off our faces. You could smell gameday as we rounded the corner and came upon this huge sign that read, “TIGER DEN”. We quickly found our seats as the anouncer welcomed us on the PA system. Everyone in the Tigers Den rose to there feet and started yelling and clapping for our Tigers running down the hill for battle.

Tina Peay with PGA golfer, Jim Furyk. Furyk looked at her jacket and said, “Clemson, I thought everybody here was South Carolina.”

Everyone within 20 seats high fived us and yelled like their kid was playing down there. Jes and I fit right in, being the poster children for rowdy, loud and super spirited Clemson girls. The view was amazing, not that the stadium seats we had were bad at all but you know…..the catered food at halftime kinda sets it apart. Clemson went on to upset Auburn 38-24 and end Auburn’s 17 game winning streak. And at Death Valley,they knew who the real Tigers were.

  • Layla Tyler Ewald & Dustin Ewald
  • Hometown: Hemingway, SC & Myrtle Beach, SC
  • College: Clemson(99) & Clemson(98)

Layla & Dustin: We met at Clemson and this year is our 15 year wedding anniversary. When he asked me what I wanted for our anniversary and my response was a Clemson golf cart.

Layla, Dustin, and 2 year old Gavin Ewald sitting in the anniversary gift, a Clemson golf cart.

We share a love for all things Clemson and believe the family that cheers together, stays together! We have a mutual understanding surrounding football season. Dustin knows I am extremely superstitious about what I wear, eat, drink and even how I sit on game day. I know that he may not talk for hours after we lose a big game. We both know we won’t be able to hold a real conversation until the next Wednesday following a game because we will both lose our voices from cheering so hard. We’ve even both sustained minor injuries over the years from our crazy celebratory antics! We share a passion and are now sharing that passion with our son, Gavin (class of 2034).

  • Collin Sarvis
  • Hometown: Greenville, SC
  • College: Clemson(2012)

Collin: As a Clemson Rally Cat, it is impossible to forget your first football game in that beautiful sequined outfit.  I still remember mine like it was yesterday.  At 18 years old…I was a bundle of nerves.  I was busting with excitement.  I felt more glamorous than I ever had before, and honestly, I really had no idea what to expect.  Our Clemson Tigers played the Citadel Bulldogs on September 6, 2008, and I made my Death Valley debut.

Collin Sarvis as a Rally Cat.

I got to be a part of the most exciting 25 seconds of college football, I danced to TigerRag beside my new teammates, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, I flipped my hair so much my neck hurt for the next 3 days, I cheered to a sea of orange, and I had what I thought was the most memorable 4 hours of my life.  Little did I know my FIRST experience in Death Valley would be nothing compared to my LAST experience. After 4 seasons of rallying, my last game was November 12, 2011 against the Wake Forest Deacons.  The emotions I felt on that day cannot even be described.  Death Valley wasn’t intimidating anymore.  It felt like home.  The crowd wasn’t a sea of orange anymore.  It was my best friends, my sorority sisters, young girls who I hoped to inspire, and fans who I had developed so many relationships with.  The girls beside me weren’t just my teammates anymore.  They were the young women who I had grown with, struggled with, been pushed to the limit with, celebrated with, and was constantly inspired by.  I left my heart and many tears on the field that day, and I was literally the last person to leave Death Valley.  As I walked out, I looked around at the empty stadium with feelings of gratitude, sadness, love, and admiration.  I became a better version of myself by having the opportunity to be a Clemson Rally Cat, and I will never forget the memories I made or how to do TigerRag!!!

From Dale Sullivan’s introduction to Clemson football by Recreation director, Rodger Terry, Duncan Sherer’s gameday rides from Chester to Death Valley, or Tina Peay living the good life in the Tiger Den-the love for the Tigers started early and is still burning strong in each one of them today.

Let’s not forget about the Ewald’s and son Gavin who is destined to be a future Tiger and also a caretaker of his ailing parents after any gut wrenching football games-let’s hope Layla and Dustin have good health plans and the Tigers keep winning.

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And what about Collin Sarvis? Who told me that she didn’t know if she could express in words how it felt to cheer for the Tigers. I think it is safe to say that she found the words. And it’s easy to feel the fervor and candor in her description of cheering for her school and then leaving a place that now feels like home.

Each person had their own moment or story to tell in their own unique way, but two words were synonymous in each, friends and family.  These are two words that are always echoed by Coach Dabo Swinney and by any recruit who decides to don a Clemson Tigers uniform. I think our Fans of the Month would agree with me when I say that Clemson is family and Clemson football brings friends and family together. It has really been a privilege to showcase some of our favorite Tiger fans and we thank each and every one of you-Go Tigers!!!

Next: Clemson Football: Wednesday Scrimmage Report