Coach Has To Have Fashion Sense To Survive


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White pants  and purple jerseys were a winner against Georgia Tech earlier this year.
White pants and purple jerseys were a winner against Georgia Tech earlier this year.

CLEMSON -- Being a coach used to be simple.

Practice the team, line the field and do the wash, hoping the colors don't run.

Those days are over.

These days, according to Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, it's not so much about what colors don't run, but about what colors make a team run harder.

Asked about uniform selection, Bowden said, "To me it's all about motivating players within reason. There is tradition and history here at Clemson you don't want to touch. You want to be aware and cognizant of those. But again it's 2003. The key is to motivate players and there are some things you could possibility do to dress it up a little bit that might be more appealing.”

Bowden makes it no secret that he likes purple. He plans on using wherever and whenever he can.

What most don’t know is how intimately Bowden is involved in the most sacred of decisions – the uniform design.

"I have to order them and I design them," said Bowden. "With Nike they are done a year in advance so my first year I wore what Tommy West designed. Then that spring I met with Nike and designed next year's."

Bowden has been designing uniforms since the sixties when he helped his father Bobby sketch a few with pad and pencil for his father's West Virginia team. But Bowden still has a few tricks up his sleeve for future uniforms it appears.

"I've got some very creative thoughts, but it comes with W's," said Bowden half-jokingly. "If I can get this thing to 9 or 10 (wins) then (we) get creative. But at 7 you can't be creative."


All-American defensive back Justin Miller, who is never short on comments, also has a few thoughts on uniforms.

"Orange jersey and purple pants," said Miller. "Try something a little different sometimes. We always have worn orange and white or all orange. I'd try orange and purple sometime to change it up a little bit."

It was through Miller’s and others urging that Bowden ordered black shoes.


“(The players) love black shoes,” said Bowden. “That’s all I heard so we got black shoes, but I wasn’t quite ready to wear black socks.”

However, uniforms aren’t that significant to every player.


“Some of the guys do (get into uniform selection), but I don’t,” said Whitehurst. “I don’t think it’s all that important to tell you the truth. There are a lot more important things to concentrate on.”


Bowden says there is no formal rotation to which uniform will be worn to which game.

"The ultimate decision is mine," said Bowden. "A lot of times I will talk to the senior leadership committee and let them do it, sometimes I will ask seniors, and sometimes I just make it... There is no rhyme or reason to make it."

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