1950 (9-0-1, 3-0-1, 2nd In So. Conf.)
Ranked 10th in AP, 12th in UPI
S 23 55-0 W H Presbyterian
S 30 34-0 W A Missouri
O 7 27-0 W H N.C. St. (18-NR)
O 19 14-14 T A SC (12-NR)
O 28 13-12 W A W For (16-17)
N 4 53-20 W H Duquesne (14-NR)
N 11 35-14 W A Bos Coll (13-NR)
N 18 57-2 W H Furman (11-NR)
N 25 41-0 W A Auburn (11-NR)
J 1 15-14 W A1 Mia (FL) (10-15)
A1 at Orange Bowl, Miami, FL
Long before Clemson won the National Championship in 1981, a future Tiger
legend was in the making. Head coach Frank Howard took charge of the Clemson
football team in 1940 after years of successfully coaching the school's track
and baseball teams, and the incredible accomplishments he made as a football
coach are still ever present sixty years later. Memorial Stadium's Frank
Howard Field and Howard's Rock are two of the most recognized and respected
pieces of Clemson football history still being used and appreciated to this
day. Frank Howard was also Clemson's athletic director for some time, and
finished a 43-year career at the school in 1974 while posting a 165-118-12
record as head football coach. Today, Howard is remembered not only for his
accomplishments within Clemson University, but as one of the greatest
football coaches of all time.
In honoring one of Frank Howard's greatest seasons as head coach, the
1950 Clemson Tigers are our pick for the fourth greatest team in the school's
history. Football was a very different game in 1950 in many respects. Aside
from very limited padding and protection for the players including helmets
without facemasks, the average weight of the Clemson offense was about 180
pounds. But despite the lack in physical size as compared to today's college
teams, the 1950 Tigers were as rough and tumble as any football team in the
history of the game, and the incredible record the team posted is a reminder
that Clemson football was around long before the 1980's.
The 1950 Tigers finished the season with 9-0-1 record, and were tied for
2nd in the Southern Conference at 3-0-1. Aside from the 14-14 tie against
South Carolina, the only other team that posed a threat to Clemson during the
season was Wake Forest, who the Tigers edged 13-12. Every other Clemson opponent was
blown out by 20 points or more. Presbyterian fell 54-0 in the
first game of the season, while Furman was trounced 57-2 and Auburn 41-0
Led by legendary running back Fred Cone, the 1950
team had numerous backs that were able to score game after game.
Fred Cone is one of the greatest players in Clemson football history, yet
he never played the game before he got to Clemson. He was listed as the last
man on the team's roster simply to fill a gap. Coach Howard said, "So I just
wrote 'Fred Cone' in as the 40th name. And that's how I got probably the
best, if not the best, football player I ever had."
Cone was outstanding during the 1950 season as he rushed 845 yards and
scored 15 touchdowns, and he was the leading scorer on the season with 92
points in 9 games. He rushed for over 100 yards in five different games that
season, including 111 yards against Missouri, a game in which 3 backs ran for
over 100 yards each- a feat that has only happened four times in Clemson history.
Cone ran the ball 163 yards for three touchdowns in the Auburn game before
catching a 28-yard pass for an incredible 4 touchdowns in a single game.
Fred Cone finished his career at Clemson with 2183 rushing yards and 31
touchdowns, and he was drafted by Green Bay in the NFL the following season.
Cone was also elected to the one platoon Clemson Centennial Team, and as a
member of the Clemson Ring of Honor.
The 1950 offensive backfield was deep, and alongside Cone were two other
rushers that were also able to score. Billy Hair was a man who effectively
did it all behind the offensive line. Not only did he punt the ball 18 times
for 610 yards, but he also completed 29 passes for 644 yards. Hair
still holds a Clemson record for rushing yards per attempt on a season with
71 rushes for 525 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Hair's ability to
play multiple positions is a testament to the athletic ability of the 1950
Also in the offensive backfield was 2nd team All-American Jackie Calvert,
who holds a Clemson record for total yards per play in a season. On 157
plays, Calvert rushed for 714 yards and received for 557 yards, giving him a
total of 1271 yards on the season. Calvert ran the ball 221 yards and caught
3 passes for 100 yards against Duquesne, and he rushed for 203 yards against
The scoring didn't stop with these three men, though. Glenn Smith
received 22 passes for 498 yards, and Ray Matthews finished his career at
Clemson with an incredible 39 touchdowns.
The 1950 Clemson defense was just as effective as the offense, and the
defense's undying effort was the deciding factor in the season ending Orange
Linebacker Wyndie Windham led the Tigers in tackles against N.C. State,
and legend has it that he knocked out 3 different N.C. State players in 3
consecutive plays, proving that football was quite dangerous for Clemson
opponents at the time. Defensive back Fred Knoebel led the team in
interceptions with 6 for the season, and defensive lineman Bob Patton blocked
the extra point in the close last minute 13-12 win over Wake Forest. It is
the only time in Clemson history that a Tiger has blocked a kick on the last
play of the game to ice a win.
The most remembered defensive play of the season came in the Orange Bowl
against Miami. With just a few minutes on the clock, 2nd string defensive
guard Sterling Smith tackled Miami's Frank Smith in the end zone for a
safety, and Clemson was able to run down the clock and claim a
15-14 Orange Bowl win.
Football in 1950 seems somewhat primitive to us today. We have become
accustomed to seeing pretentious, multi-million dollar professional athletes
play the same game that Frank Howard once coached. But Clemson's
1950 football team wasn't concerned with money, egos, or contracts. They
played the game because they loved it, and their undefeated season and
diehard attitude should remind us that they were every bit as tough and
athletic as any college team today. They were the early warriors of the
game, and will respectfully be remembered as such.
LE: Bob Hudson, 200, Sr. (10)
LG: Pete Manos, 190, So. (9)
C: Jack Brunson, 190, Jr. (10)
RG: Dan DiMucci, 190, Jr. (10)
T: Dick Gillespie, 217, Jr. (6)
T: Jack Mooneyman, 210, Fr. (6)
RE: Glenn Smith, 180, Jr. (9)
RB: Billy Hair, 170, So. (9)
FB: Fred Cone, 165, Sr. (8)
BB: Dick Hendley, 185, Sr. (8)
WB: Ray Mathews, 180, Sr. (7)
PK: Charles Radcliff, So. (10)
LE: Jim Calvert, 6-1, Jr.
LT: Bob Patton, 220, Jr.
LG: Sterling Smith, 205, Sr.
RG: Barclay Crawford, 190, So.
RT: Billy Grigsby, 190, Jr.
RE: Dreher Gaskin, 197, Fr.
LB: Wyndie Wyndham, 190, Sr.
LB: Don Wade, 180, So.
CB: Fred Knoebel, 170, So.
S: Pete Cook, 155, So.
RH: Gil Rushton, 180, Sr.
Number in parentheses is games started by that player regardless of position in that season.
Clemson All-Time Teams
#5 -- 1990
#6 -- 1988
#7 -- 1982
#8 -- 1989
#9 -- 1983
#10 -- 1979