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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Tommy West

As I said earlier, many fans were happy to hear that Clemson was parting ways with Hatfield after the 1993 football season. It didn’t take long for the university to announce his successor: Tommy West.

The reason Clemson hired West was simple. He looked like Danny Ford. He talked like Danny Ford. He dressed like Danny Ford. He worked for Danny Ford at Clemson. He was a Clemson man.

They say sometimes when a franchise or program must admit their last hire was a mistake, they attempt to compensate by hiring the exact opposite. Clemson realized their mistake was pushing Ford away in the first place, so they compensated by hiring a Ford look-alike to replace Hatfield.

They just didn’t realize he couldn’t coach like Danny Ford.

West took over for the 1993 bowl game and was victorious, but from there, the program began a slide to mediocrity. Even when the Tigers finished with a winning record under West, there would be at least a couple blowout losses which reinforced just how far the program had fallen.

Following a 3-win campaign in 1998, Clemson’s worst win total since Parker’s 1976 results, West was dismissed.

The silver lining here? Clemson (and their fanbase) learned a hard lesson that you can’t hold onto the past. If you want to win, you must evolve.

Many fans would put West’s successor, Tommy Bowden, on this list as well, but it was under Bowden that Clemson learned it was just as capable of playing offense as any team in the nation. Not to mention Bowden hired this guy named Dabo Swinney as his wide receivers coach.

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