Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it

by - Senior Writer -
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Howard's Rock was removed from Death Valley on Wednesday after someone damaged its pedestal.

CLEMSON – Howard’s Rock is more than just a stone - it’s a piece of history that years ago gave an identity to a school and a football program trying to make its way in the land of big boy, southern football. Since the rock was first placed atop the hill, generations of Clemson fans, football players and coaches and even the casual tourist have taken the time to touch it and have a picture or two taken with the rock. Countless memories have been made along the way.

The news broke early Wednesday that yet another vandal had taken a crack at the iconic stone, a stone that was brought from California’s Death Valley and given to former head coach Frank Howard. The rock served as a doorstop before Howard told booster Gene Willimon to “Do something with it but get it out of my office.” Willimon got the idea to use the stone as motivation for the football team. It’s been more than motivation in the years since that time, it’s been an integral part of the fabric of Clemson football.

Following the Wednesday vandalism, the rock was removed from its place atop the hill, leaving an empty spot on the hill and in the hearts of true Clemson fans. As one fan told me shortly after he saw the photo of the empty spot at the top of the hill, “that’s sickening to see.” The picture of Death Valley with no Howard's Rock was disturbing. It feels like the enemy has triumphed.

In many ways, Howard’s Rock IS Clemson. And now, it’s time to protect it.

I’ve heard a lot of people comment on the best way to protect the rock – new cameras, armed guards and those who have a sense of humor have even suggested putting a real Tiger in charge of protection. The reality is that the fact that we are having to even talk about this is sad. People who took their pictures with the rock in the 70’s introduced their children to it in the 80’s and 90’s and now are having their grandchildren see it on game day.


Last year, I was doing a story about the Scroll of Honor and met a couple who were driving from Ohio to Florida, but saw the sign for Clemson and had to stop off and see the rock. I’ve seen members of the Wounded Warrior Project touch the rock. I’ve seen people gather near and around it on game day.

The rock’s value? Ten bucks if you just took a similar rock and tried to sell it on the roadside out on California. Maybe not even that much. For Clemson fans, however, the rock is priceless. You can’t put a monetary value on it because of the emotional attachment it brings. And as long as the rock is out in public during the night and when the campus is mostly empty, there are the kooks and the idiots who are going to do their best to damage it. Camera systems and alarm systems are great at finding perpetrators after the fact, but the rock needs to be protected and kept from harm.

The university is spending millions on athletic upgrades, but now is the time to invest in protecting one of its greatest assets. If that means a replica rock needs to stand atop the hill, then so be it. Put the rock in the WestZone 358 days a year. Let recruits see and learn its history. Let it take on even more of a legend.

The damage to the pedestal for Howard's Rock

And here is my idea – on those other seven days which are Clemson home football game days - take the rock back to its former home and make it into a tradition much like TigerWalk. Have cadets or members of the ROTC “walk” the rock from the WestZone to its rightful place atop the hill. Make sure it’s protected along the way, but something that Howard once said about the rock comes to mind. Use the band. Use drums. But have an honor guard as the rock makes the trek around Memorial Stadium.

Howard told his football team, “Give me 110 percent or keep your filthy hands off of my rock." The team began routinely rubbing the rock in 1967, and have been doing so ever since.

If fans who will only give “110 percent” during the game want to touch the rock on its journey, so be it. But make it an honor to "protect" the rock on the journey.

But it’s time the rock earns a new, more respected place in Clemson lore all while being protected for the priceless artifact it is.

And when the rock – forged in the heat of Death Valley and brought cross-country so many years ago – finally makes it back to its rightful spot under the scoreboard and on top of the hill, Memorial Stadium is once again transformed into Clemson’s Death Valley.

Dear vandals: Keep your filthy hands off of our rock. Dear school administrators: Please give 110 percent and more to protect our rock.

*NOTE: Have an idea for protecting the rock? Comment under the story.

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Subject (Replies: 105) Author
New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
TigerNet News
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
BSTiger13
Rub and touch the rock in the West Zone anyone anytime
BaronVonBarlow®
Re: Rub and touch the rock in the West Zone anyone anytime
oldschtiger70®
Re: Rub and touch the rock in the West Zone anyone anytime
jeancooper®
Re: Rub and touch the rock in the West Zone anyone anytime
jeancooper®
6 Armed Guards When The Stadium Is Empty
Xander5000
Re: 6 Armed Guards When The Stadium Is Empty
tgrdvrmd
Re: 6 Armed Guards When The Stadium Is Empty
jerseytiger1980
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
Tigerluvr
Simple - please read
SolidVerbal
Re: Simple - please read
Tigerluvr
Re: Simple - please read
allorangeallthetime52®
Re: Simple - please read
Starman57®
As a local, I like that it is on display for the fans all yr***
TIGERROCKER
We all do, but I'd rather have it safe elsewhere than lose
TigerzzRoar®
Never Move It...
Twon2012
I don't want it moved, but so far its protection has been
TigerzzRoar®
Re: I don't want it moved, but so far its protection has been
oldschtiger70®
First of all let me say that I don't think that Howard's
attheesso®
No offense, but that is a terrible idea
cu undergrad
Leave it on the hill with better alarm:
mjm
Looks like the case did its job. I love that people are
TIGERROCKER
Perhaps they could outsource some engineering firm
TigerScott88®
Re: Perhaps they could outsource some engineering firm
Tigerluvr
Re: Perhaps they could outsource some engineering firm
Tiger ironman
Please don't hide it away.***
TIGERROCKER
For the hydraulic idea that several have said...
Tigerman1978
I would personally rather not see a Death Valley missing
soccerkrzy®
Re: I would personally rather not see a Death Valley missing
Tigerman1978
Re: I would personally rather not see a Death Valley missing
Tigerman1978
^^^ that's a good idea ^^^***
clemsonsuzi®
Re: ^^^ that's a good idea ^^^***
oldschtiger70®
I'm with you on this one.
TIGERROCKER
Re: I'm with you on this one.
Tigerman1978
if the rock comes up that slowly, they'd have to start it
clemsonsuzi®
Re: if the rock comes up that slowly, they'd have to start it
Tigerman1978
I'm all for vibration sensors in the new pedestal.
soccerkrzy®
Make the entire pedestal go underground every day at dusk
dtnickles
Re: Make the entire pedestal go underground every day at dusk
FishinCrazy®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
WestwindTiger
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
MadDrummer
I said this wasn't good enough when they installed attaches
vauclusepaw®
Put it in USuC's trophy case
TonyTigerblood
Point!***
TigerScott88®
POTD!***
clemsonsuzi®
Plenty of room in there too
TigerTide
I don't know much about motion sensors, but I think what
deleted
Re: I don't know much about motion sensors, but I think what
Tigerman1978
Re: I don't know much about motion sensors, but I think what
SAG6060®
^^^^ wow glad u people are here^^^^^
vauclusepaw®
You sound like a real fun person***
soccerkrzy®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
Wando Tiger
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
jeancooper®
My idea.
El Swann®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
sabletiger®
We're a school with a rich military history and an ROTC
Kdog5000
not enough people in ROTC to do this***
TX Tiger®
It's Past Time To Protect It!
Dugatiger®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
66grad
East Endzone Oculus Built around the Rock....
wetnoodle
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
allorangeallthetime52®
I like the hydraulic underground bunker idea, but
92TigerGrad®
I still think sharks with laser beams
ninetytwotiger®
you know how in movies or tv shows there is some expensive
clemsonsuzi®
Re: you know how in movies or tv shows there is some expensive
CUalum79ALLn65®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
Asch74
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
robbensdale®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
Tiger Shag
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
wyattsup
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
jeancooper®
^^^^THIS!^^^^***
TigerHawk76®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
TigerGeof
Mechanical reliability is the only concern.
TigerNotAtGT
In addition, there should be manual failsafes.
TigerNotAtGT
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
Lee Honeycutt
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
jeancooper®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
Lee Honeycutt
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
jeancooper®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
Lee Honeycutt
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
jeancooper®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
prefab
I like the idea of things coming out of the ground BUT
TX Tiger®
Re: I like the idea of things coming out of the ground BUT
Tigerman1978
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
tigergrad07
I should hope that after the last act of vandalism, that cameras
milfordcttiger®
Very quietly put a replica Rock without telling anybody***
Clemsnman®
Re: Very quietly put a replica Rock without telling anybody***
Litefoot®
You didnt graduate from Clemson.
tigerz17®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
spillermaniac
Start a new Tradition.
76er®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
JP4479
Subterranean vault with a hydraulic elevator
mhuyser
Re: Subterranean vault with a hydraulic elevator
JP4479
Howard's Rock should be secure/visible 24/7 atop the hill
AeroTiger®
Same Clear Cast + Electric Voltage
jtiger1®
DH - your story illustrates why your solution is not a good
joeyb®
Myself and my 2 brothers
kfast600
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
Lee Honeycutt
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
TCCUTIGER
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
tigercubjr
moveable guard house.
tigersincepell®
Re: New Story: Hood: Howard's Rock IS Clemson, and now it's time to protect it
TheCoz
Protect the Rock and start a new tradition***
TheCoz
Guard towers placed at the 4 corners of the Stadium
JumboTiger
Tigerwatch***
gopaws4

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