5 Worst Head Coaching Hires in Clemson Football History

Clemson Tigers Football has hired some great head coaches, but it has had its fair share of misses as well. Here are the five worst head coaching hires in the program's history.

Sep 28, 1991; Clemson, SC, USA; FILE PHOTO;  Clemson Tigers head coach Ken Hatfield
Sep 28, 1991; Clemson, SC, USA; FILE PHOTO; Clemson Tigers head coach Ken Hatfield / RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
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Ken Hatfield

Someone who wasn’t around when Ken Hatfield was fired by Clemson University might look at the facts on the surface and wonder what exactly went so wrong that they would fire a guy who just finished an 8-3 regular season and won 70.7% of his games.

The first hurdle that faced Hatfield when he arrived in Clemson was that he had to follow Danny Ford, who was the youngest head coach to ever win a national championship. He was incredibly popular among the fans, many of whom felt Ford was run out of town because of an NCAA investigation that he was eventually cleared of.

The next hurdle came from Hatfield’s third season in 1992 when the Tigers went 5-6 overall and only won three ACC games. It was Clemson’s first losing season since 1976. Tiger fans weren’t used to that.

Then there is the reason I can personally attest to because I witnessed it first-hand my freshman year: it was flat-out boring football. Hatfield ran the wishbone, and though some teams in the 1980s found a lot of success running that system, its time was waning.

Higher-powered offensive systems were dawning, and the fans were just not having any fun at the football games, even though the team finished 8-3 in Hatfield’s final season. Not that the school made a good choice for his successor, mind you, but we’ll talk about that soon enough.

The biggest mistake by the leadership of the program was forcing Ford out, but the hire of Hatfield wasn’t good either.

Next: Red Parker