I played for both and Tommy "Worst" was by far inferior to Hatfield. Hatfield was a good man, and a descent coach, but lost out in recruiting. That was his main problem. West was, from my understanding, a descent assistant, but I was never sold that he was Head Coach material. Just my 2 cents.
Tommy West (31-28) was gung-ho and a nice enough guy, but his teams and strategy was just painful to watch and seemed like it was a struggle to win at all. He had a 4 winning seasons in 9 years at Memphis (going 49-61). If you go back to 1970 it would be Hootie Ingram (12-21), even more painful than Tommy West....
Hatfield (32-13-1) and Bowden (72-45) were decent coaches, but they could never put it together, and move up to the next level, regardless of personnel. Both fielded average teams, with some excellent players - the teams lacked coaching and strategy!
Glad those days are behind us, and we had plenty of bad Saturdays in Death Valley....
That's why we need to keep Dabo until he retires, like Frank Howard, Bobby Bowden, or Bear Bryant.... Losing Danny Ford gave us 20 years wondering in the wilderness.....
Kevin Steele. Sure, I got 70 reasons - but at Baylor he was 1-31 in conference including another 70 point blowout. At Clemson, well... since 1980, I consider him the "worst" to coach at Clemson, mostly because he consistently lacked on ROI since 1980. Might have been worse performers to an extend but nothing palled as he could not stop or adjust to anything.
My take on the West hire. Ford was beloved by the Clemson faithful and many did not like it when he was forced out. The admin wanted to cut all ties and hired Hatfield as the polar opposite of Ford. After Hatfield left, West was the bone thrown to the boosters since he was a Ford man.
Steele was fine as DC in 2009 and 2010. Both were top 25 defensives and it was a minor miracle in 2010 as much as the offense left them on the field. In the big picture we should probably thank Steele for doing good enough in 2010 that Dabo wasn’t fired and doing bad enough the next year that we made the move for BV. He wasn’t able to adjust, at all, to the demands Chad Morris’s offensive style would put on the defense. But even Brent’s first defense only finished 46th in total defense.
I won’t defend Tommy West’s overall record because it’s not good, but I also won’t praise Ken Hatfield for taking a Top 5-10 roster and losing a couple of winnable games per season with it before then going 5-6.
Let’s just say that Clemson struggled in the post Danny years.
Dabo pulled us out of it and brought unprecedented success.
We all need to remember this fact while we go through a year or two of adjustment to the crazy rules now in place in college football.
As Dabo has said in the past ... The Best is Still to Come!
It was 1990, the 10-2 year. That roster with a decent coach could have gone undefeated and played for a championship. Hatfield lost to UVA (for first time ever) and GaTech (0.5 MNC that year). Ford would have won both games, BUT he would have lost to NC State. Then he would have beaten Nebraska for that half of a MNC. Hatfield lost the fans that year, never got any back.
Danny went undefeated and won the national championship, then had two 1-loss seasons before leveling out and rebuilding toward multiple 10-win seasons. He did have the misfortune to start finding ways to lose a couple of head scratchers a year. But, he’d built up a lot of equity with fans and by his last year was ready to roll again.
Ford left Hatfield an embarrassment of riches to build on and Ken couldn’t sustain it.
Hatfield was the worst offensive strategist ever to pick up a playbook. He had most of the great players that Ford had recruited and underproduced, and then lost all our recruiting advantages, especially in North Carolina. My choice for worst coach, however, would be Tommy Bowden. He was a bully and a coward, running up the score against inferior teams and leaving his best players in too long to "make it look better". He was a bible thumping hypocrite, who talked the talk but didn't walk the walk. He was just good enough with his family heritage to keep us from going down fast, but we were going down.
admitted that, at the time, the Clemson job was "just too big for him". Even a blind man could see, with his hire, we were trying to catch that Danny Ford "Lightning in a bottle" a second time. That was just too much pressure for Tommy West to live up to those expectations. He did his best, it just wasn't near enough at the time.
No comparison between the rosters each inherited. Hatfield had a fully stocked bar and couldn’t make a good drink. Exhibit A is at GT when we gashed them all day long , Ronald Williams I believe, and ######## pulls out the wishbone inside the 10 time after time. Cost me a perfectly good TV.
I agree. Hatfield didn't have a chance. The administration simply wanted to ditch Ford and then didn't care about the program. And the Clemson fans did not support Hatfield. Ken should have stayed at Arkansas. West was not good, period.
Another reason he should have stayed at Arkansas. He did not know these high school coaches and recruiting was a little different back then and I feel tougher without relationships. May have happened on down the road who knows but following Ford was a detriment to his career.
Agreed. Bringing in a coach from the Southwest Conference and expecting him to recruit well in South Carolina, especially in the pre-internet, pre-cell phone days, was going to be very difficult. It probably would have taken Hatfield some time to establish connections, as you say. They should have hired someone from the ACC or SEC.