Guest Chat Transcript: Ken Tysiac

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ACC beat reporter for The Charlotte Observer Ken Tysiac was our special guest in TigerActive Chat on Monday. Tysiac has authored two books about Clemson football - "Still Roaring: Jim Phillips's Life in Broadcasting" and his new book "Tales from Clemson's 1981 Championship Season".

Ken Tysiac spent 1995 to 2003 covering Clemson for The State Newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, and the Anderson Independent-Mail (SC). He has won numerous awards; including second place in 1999 and third in 2000 among news and sports-beat reporters from the South Carolina Press Association. Tysiac resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, Lura; daughter, Ashley; and son, Ken III.


Question: Ken, have you received an explanation from Tommy Hunt on the blown replay reversal on Hamlin's INT against BC? That play and decision is looming large for Clemson as the year goes on. Also, any discipline for Ron Cherry on the botched block in the back call on the BC KO TD?

Answer: Tommy told me last week that all of the replay calls in the ACC so far this season were correct. I'm not aware of any discipline for Ron Cherry.

Question: test question

Answer: test

Question: Will either or both Bunting and Amto be let go at season's end?

Answer: I think there's a chance both will be gone...or both will stay. Clemson fans should remember 2003 and be aware that a coach should be judged on the basis of an entire season of work.

Question: when are the miami suspensions going to be handed down by swofford. lol

Answer: If you're referring to the Peach Bowl, I don't think that's going to happen. But Clemson fans shouldn't compare the Peach Bowl to the USC fight from 2004. USC fight was much worse.

Question: If Steve Spurier wins only 4-5 games this season will fans still call him a genius?

Answer: Some fans probably still will. He's a smart guy either way, as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure Picasso painted some doozies as well as some great works of art in his lifetime.

Question: Hi, Ken. When do you think the bowl ban and suspensions for the Miami players involved in the fight at their bowl last year will be announced? Surely the ACC isn't going to be hypocritical is it?

Answer: Hi Katwoman. I think what happened at the end of the USC game in 2004 was far worse than the Miami Peach Bowl fight. Clemson fans ought to own up for what their players did wrong and stop making excuses and blaming Swofford.

Question: Do you think Swofford and Myles Brand were given a free pass by the media concerning the Ray Ray situation? The ACC originally denied our request and Swofford said his situation was no different than many others. Then the press ran with the story and they caved. Not only did that grant the waiver, Swofford made out as if he was one of the main players and he knew all along it was the right thing to do.

Answer: The NCAA said that despite media reports to the contrary, Ray Ray's request would have been considered regardless of the media reports. I guess we've got to take them at their word.

Question: In your opinion, what is the true impact of message boards like Tigernet on recruiting?

Answer: I think it has a very small effect. Availability of playing time, facilities and program success are much more important.

Question: Why is officiating so bad and how can we fix it?

Answer: People are human. I make mistakes, just like officials do, and I'm sure everybody on this board toes, too.

Question: What ACC coaches are gone at the end of this season?

Answer: Too early to say. It's still September.

Question: Can Steve Spurrier produce a consistent winner at usc?

Answer: If anybody can do it, Spurrier can. I know a lot of people who have worked with him in the past who think he can get it done. But the competition in SEC East is fierce.

Question: Rate the College ref review screwups - Seriously, do you like it and how would you improve it?

Answer: I actually like replay. I would like to see a permanent camera on each side of each goal line, and I would like coaches who win their challenge to keep it for another challenge.

Question: I have a Smelley heel, can I redshirt? Seriously - come on - USC is already on probation and Spurrier admitted it was hokie - is it possible?

Answer: I'm not sure what you're talking about.

Question: Welcome to Tigernet Ken, Are you in favor of the Tigers wearing white hemets at night??

Answer: I'm not big on the colors of the uniforms, but I like the orange helmets.

Question: Ken--without necesarily mentioning names (OK with us if you do) how many openings in the ACC after this season? who is in the most trouble?

Answer: Still too early in the season to tell. Remember Tommy Bowden in 2003.

Question: Does Chuck Amato have a problem with all media or just you?

Answer: Chuck and I actually get along well. But Amato gets riled up more easily when other coaches when you challenge his program. Which is fine.

Question: For 20 points compare and contrast: Clemson fans vs. NC State Fans.

Answer: N.C. State fans care more about basketball.

Question: When is the Charlotte Observer going to realize that Tom Sorenson isn't everything he thinks he is and make you their columnist?

Answer: I think Tom is brilliant. His sense of humor really comes through in his writing. It's not easy to write humor, believe me.

Question: After the Panthers and Independence High School, who has the best football team in NC?

Answer: Hey, where's the love for the Deacs? They're going to be 5-0 after this week.

Question: What team is the surprise team this year in ACC and why?

Answer: Surprise team in the ACC has to be North Carolina. The Heels are much worse than anybody predicted on defense. If you can't stop the run, you're in trouble.

Question: What is ACC policy on suspension? Some players only suspended for one half - others full game?

Answer: It depends on what the transgression is. I don't know all the nuances of the rule.

Question: An entire season of work? Then Bunting should most definitely get the axe.

Answer: I thought Bunting would be fired in 2004 after they lost 46-16 at Utah to fall to 3-4. And at the end of the year, he got a contract extension.

Question: What is the best thing about ACC fb?

Answer: When there's a big game in Clemson, Tallahassee, Blacksburg or Raleigh, the atmosphere is electric.

Question: Do you like your job? best part of it?

Answer: I love my job. The best part is feeling like you made a difference in somebody's life because of something you wrote. Was glad I was able to capture Jim Phillips' memoirs before he died and 1981 memories before they fade, because that's a part of history.

Question: How the Clemson/USC fight worse? Benches cleared and punches were thrown.

Answer: Clemson-USC lasted almost eight minutes, if memory serves. Miami was done in less than a minute. Can't remember if those exact times are right, but I looked them up a while ago. Clemson fight was much longer.

Question: How do you like the WEZ project?

Answer: I think it looks great, but it saddens me to see tuition prices everywhere (not just Clemson) rising while schools are building these shrines to athletics in difficult economic times.

Question: Having seen the first 4 games of this season, how reasonable would you think it is for Clemson to run the table and play in the ACC title game?

Answer: You've got to defeat Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Those will be tough games. And Florida State has an easy schedule. Clemson really screwed up at BC with special teams and a poor goal line call - one of Rob Spence's few mistakes at Clemson - in first OT.

Question: What paper are you working with now?

Answer: Charlotte Observer. And I love it.

Question: Ken, if UNC had beaten CLemson on Saturday the story would have made the front page of the CLT sports section at worst. Why was the Clemson win buried on page 12?

Answer: Dog bites man is not front page news. Man bites dog is front page news.

Question: ken, you ever miss the big city of anderson? :)

Answer: I miss it a whole bunch. I have a lot of great friends there. Unfortunately, because my minivan broke down on the trip to the UNC game, my minivan is there in the shop right now, too.

Question: So Ken, you agree with Hunt that the Hamlin INT overturn was the correct call?

Answer: Hunt knows more about it than I do. TV color guy thought it was a reception, too, after reviewing the replay. But I thought it was an interception.

Question: All of Picasso's paintings now sell for billions. I'll bet no one in the future will give much for this USC team.

Answer: LOL

Question: Nobody went to the hospital after the USC Brawl...the same cannot be said for the Peach Bowl...

Answer: You are like the guy who was caught for speeding at 100 mph and is angry because the guy going 75 mph was not caught, too. Admit your own mistake and quit worrying about everybody else.

Question: ken, who do you see as possibilities for the unc/nc state jobs should both coaches get the axe?

Answer: That's the tough deal. Nobody seems to have any really good answers. Fans here are talking Butch Davis and Paul Johnson, but neither makes much sense.

Question: Ken---2 people hospitalized with injuries in the Miami LSU brawl---only hurt feelings ay USC_CU....disagree on the degree of the brawl--but we are all friends here

Answer: We'll have to agree to disagree.

Question: Ken, great book you put out on the '81 team.. very good and easy read; question - which coaches in the ACC provide easiest/hardest access to the media?

Answer: Tommy Bowden, Jim Grobe and Frank Beamer are some of the easiest. Chuck Amato can be tough to get one on one.

Question: Ken--when does your 81 book hit the stores?

Answer: It's in the stores already. Or you can order online: or

Question: Ken, how do you like to cook your brats at a tailgate?

Answer: I'm partial to Polish sausage, actually.

Question: Ken, I'm 20 and I do what you do(Just started writing for the Anderson Independent)...How'd you start, and what have you done to become so succesful? Thanks!

Answer: Started at a small daily newspaper in Rome, N.Y. 1. Read good writers. 2. Try to find a mentor who will critique your work and send them some of your stories. 3. Work, work, work.

Question: Did last week's game end the "letdown" legacy? And how long will CU have to toss ice on TB's chair before people quit thinking it's hot?

Answer: It would cost a fortune for Clemson to get rid of Tommy Bowden. He's not going anywhere. He's a darn good coach, too.

Question: got a prediction for our final record / bowl ?

Answer: I think Gator Bowl, 10-3

Question: What's the best scoop you or any other reporter found on Tigernet?

Answer: Travis Zachery's I'm Bout It page led to a story I did on Clemson guys posting objectionable stuff on their web pages...precursor to MySpace scandal that started earlier this year.

Question: Tell us about your new book

Answer: Thanks, Tommy. I interviewed players and coaches to do a book on the 1981 national championship team...their memories of that season. I talked to a few of them last week and they said they enjoyed it immensely. Available in most bookstores or at or

Question: Any truth to the rumor that Bowden's going to Tennessee after this year? Granted, they didn't say WHICH Bowden...

Answer: I'd be shocked if Tommy left Clemson for Tennessee. He's really got the Clemson program going in the right direction and has a good contract.

Question: Amen on the winning challenge change! Can you talk us through your usual game day schedule?

Answer: I like to go down on the field to watch warmups, watch the game from the press box, then do interviews and write my story.

Question: So you're saying if Chuck Amato can make his lip quiver then he'll be at NCSt next year?

Answer: N.C. State administration is backing Amato pretty solidly, and there are still a lot of weak opponents on the schedule. So jury's still out.

Question: Speaking of TB in 2003, was Amato's post game interfiew on the same level with Tommy's "lip quiver"?

Answer: Their situations were a lot different. I really think the Clemson administration was against Tommy at that point in 2003. I think the admin still backs Amato

Question: So Ken, you agree with Hunt that the Hamlin INT overturn was the correct call?

Answer: I thought it was an interception. But Tommy Hunt is more of an expert than I am, and if he says it was a reception, he's almost certainly right.

Question: N.C. State fans care more about basketball...and we know to pee in the bathroom, not on it.

Answer: Very clever.

Question: What kind of chip on his shoulder does Doyle have against Clemson?

Answer: Gregg has strong opinions about everybody, not just Clemson. It's what makes him a good columnist. I like him as a person and always read his stuff, but don't always agree with him.

Question: lol, you are writing some pretty good humor today with these answers.

Answer: Thanks, deroberts

Question: Do you think every play should be reviewed or put more pressure on coaches with the ref flag rule with 2? College rule of losing your chance after correctly questioning a ruling seems foolish?

Answer: I would like to see coaches keep their challenge as long as each challenge they make is correct.

Question: Who's the best college beat writer in the ACC?

Answer: Nobody is more plugged into their beat than Steve Ellis of the Tallahassee Democrat

Question: How do you pick yopur assignments these days since you now cover the ACC more at large?

Answer: They try to give me some plum assignments since I'm the ACC beat writer, but a lot of it is done based on travel convenience for our staff in Charlotte and me in Raleigh

Question: If the Deacons are 5-0, should they be ranked?

Answer: They need to beat somebody decent before I rank them.

Question: Which player from '81 was the most interesting to talk to?

Answer: Perry Tuttle is well spoken and sincere. And Billy Davis is a brilliant guy with a fascinating job in the Secret Service.

Question: Does UNC care about football or is it osmething to do until bb season starts?

Answer: UNC cares a little bit, nowhere near as much as Clemson.

Question: Which Clemson team does this year's team remind you most of?

Answer: This team is a lot like the 88 team that lost on the fumblerooskie to Florida State. Both teams lost early under crazies circumstances to cost a shot at a national title. This team is that good, but will lose again like that team did (to N.C. State)

Question: Electric atmosphere in Raleigh at a football game - as in TAZERS?

Answer: No, N.C. State fans fill that place. They love football, and it can be a great environment. Parking lot incident was tragic last year, but they've cracked down on poor behavior.

Question: ken, what's your fondest memory of anderson county?

Answer: Meeting my wife, who worked in ad department of the Anderson Independent-Mail

Question: Mary Ann or Ginger?

Answer: I'm married, as you can see. But Mary Ann.

Question: IPTAY paid/will pay for the WEZ.....It has zero effect on tuition....

Answer: What I'm saying is all the money donors spend on the WEZ would be better spent on scholarships for deserving students who can't afford them. This is an NCAA-wide problem, not just Clemson's.

Question: Are you running for President or Governor?

Answer: People despise me enough. The last thing I need is to go into politics.

Question: the fight part of UNC CU lasted just over a minute--play was resumed in less than 6 minutes, Just for an FYI

Answer: Are you sure?

Question: Ken, the replay officials get the INT call right and there is no OT. Game over.

Answer: Not true. You are presuming you would have just run roughshod over BC down the field and not punted, and that your defense would have stopped BC. And that's assuming too much. You had a chance to win first and goal from the 3, and you blew it.

Question: People get shot in Raleigh and the atmosphere is "electric?" You should spend more time actually tailgating there.

Answer: I'm talking about inside the stadium. It's unfortunate what happened in Raleigh last year, I agree.

Question: How many folks do you reckon will go to the Temple massacre in Charlotte?

Answer: So far 30,000 tix sold...5,000 immediately after the shellacking of the Heels.

Question: Ken... do you think Notre Dame and Miami should have been suspended from going to a bowl in 1988 when they had their infamous pregame brawl in ND's championship year?

Answer: Again, there is no comparison. The Notre Dame-Miami thing was in the tunnel - similar to Clemson vs. USC basketball thing, Shyatt vs. Fogler, a few years ago. Some pushing and shoving. Nothing as horrible as what occurred at Clemson. Again, you guys really need to own up to how ugly that was. And remember, Swofford didn't withdraw from the bowl. Your own administration did.

Question: Who has the nicest stadium in ACC?

Answer: I think Clemson's is the best place to see a big game.

Question: ken, where did you finish college?

Answer: Notre Dame.

Question: Dangit, that wasn't the question: Are we done with "letdown" talks? Are we finished with "hot seat" references? If not, what will it take to make them go away?

Answer: I think you're done with hot seat references to Tommy Bowden. This team is good, and so is Clemson's recruiting.

Question: Ken, for years, there has been a general buzz that the ACC and John Swofford have a bias against Clemson. Working in NC, do you see or hear anything that leads you to believe this may be true?

Answer: I don't believe Swofford is biased against Clemson. Remember, now, he took Clemson's side and pushed expansion hard when Duke and UNC - whom Clemson folks accuse him of favoring - opposed.

Question: Did you get to talk to Donald Iguebuike for your book?

Answer: No. Couldn't find him.

Question: Do you think instant replay is causing more issues than it is solving this year?

Answer: I think it's causing a lot of headaches, but solving a lot of problems, too.

Question: Who do you like to come out of the Coastal division this year?

Answer: Virginia Tech.

Question: Who do you take in a Rutgers - Wake Forest matchup?

Answer: Wake Forest. If Rutgers barely beat UNC, Rutgers can't be very good.

Question: Steve Ellis...a Clemson man, no less.

Answer: You betcha.

Question: Is the Talley guy better than Larry Williams? I find that hard to believe.

Answer: John Talley is really good. Duke doesn't have a lot of good football players, but I really like Talley.

Question: NC State will beat us? I will barbecue a cow pie and serve it to orphans at the 50-yard-line if State beats us.

Answer: No. You guys will beat N.C. State, probably handily.

Question: Is Danny the best coach ever at CU?

Answer: In football? Yes. Rick Barnes might give Danny a run for his money, though, if you're talking all sports.

Question: Ken, I can foresee the headlines/columns about the poor attendance in Charlotte....Given the game day, the opponent, etc etc will you and Sorenson give us a fair shake on the numbers we bring to Charlotte?

Answer: You've already got 30,000 sold. That's a good start.

Question: who do you like in the ACC championship game?

Answer: Virginia Tech over FSU

Question: Obvious block in the back on the BC kickoff return for s TD - ACC admitted it was missed, why was it not reviewed?

Answer: Block in the back is not something that's reviewable under the current replay system.

Question: Your old employer (The State) is running a Tommy Bowden Pressure Meter every Sunday...Don't you think that's a bit unfair?

Answer: I love The State. But Tommy Bowden is not going to lose his job.

Question: IF the "brawl" was so bad, then WHY did officials not suspend the game. How do they let play resume??? Wasn't that stupid if the situation was so volatile???

Answer: You guys won't let this go, will you? Your players made idiots out of themselves on national television, and you want them to be rewarded with a bowl game. As if you were going somewhere great with a 6-5 record anyway. Get over it.

Question: even with fsu's patsy schedule, don't you think they're down this year and could easily lose 2 or 3? Especially after Troy nearly beat'em, then got spanked by the huskers?

Answer: They could lose a few. But they probably won't. That's all the time I've got, guys. Thanks for your questions and comments. I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me.

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