Napier: No Brainer to Come Back to Clemson


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CLEMSON --- Billy Napier said it was a no brainier when Clemson football coach Tommy Bowden offered him the tight ends position on his coaching staff.


Napier was projected to move into S.C. State’s offensive coordinator position before Bowden gave his former graduate assistant an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.

“Anybody will tell you it’s a no brainier to come to Clemson,” he said. “Like any level, coaching at this level is different, plus I wanted to work for Coach Bowden.

“He gave me my first break as a graduate assistant. I love Buddy (Pugh) and I appreciate all he has done for me, but Coach Bowden gave me my first opportunity and I’m glad I get the opportunity to show him how much I appreciate it.”


Napier said he sent out more than 60 fillers when he applied for a graduate assistance position all across the country two years ago. Only one of those 60 returned his call – that one was Clemson coach Tommy Bowden.

“I was on my way to accept a high school coaching position when Clemson called,” he said.

Napier, an all-conference quarterback at Furman in the late 1990’s, said he never really thought about coaching in college, he always assumed he would be a head coach at the high school level like his father. But after getting a taste of what coaching at the college level is like – he can’t think of doing anything else.

“I like working with young men that work hard and want to improve themselves,” he said. “That’s why I always thought I would be a high school coach. But then Coach Bowden gave me the opportunity as a graduate assistant and I know now this is what I want to do.”

Napier has always been at the right place at the right time, saying when his dad coached him in high school, it allowed him to work harder and grow as a player. During his time at Furman he said it was difficult because the Furman offense expects so much from its quarterbacks and asks them to do a lot, but he said it was valuable experience.


As a graduate assistant, he said Bowden and his staff challenged him and helped him grow as a coach. Now he hopes he can just return that favor and use all of his experience to make Clemson’s tight ends the best in the ACC.

“I’m counting the days when I can get those tight ends on the field,” he said.

Until then, Napier says he will work night and day to learn the position better and what offensive coordinator Rob Spence asks his tight ends to do.

As for what Clemson fans should expect from him and why he was hired by Bowden in the first place, Napier had this reply.

“I bring a lot of energy to the staff and a lot to the table,” he said. “Coach Bowden saw that when I was here before and he knows what to expect from me.

“He took a chance in me and gave me a shot so obviously I want to work my tail off for him.”

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