CLEMSON— Former Calhoun Academy standout and current punter for the No. 2 Clemson Tigers Will Spiers understands exactly what the rivalry game with the South Carolina Gamecocks means because his family is has been a part of the rivalry for his entire life.
Bud Spiers, Will’s grandfather, was a shortstop on the first Tiger baseball team to make a trip to the College World Series in 1958 and was the first of former baseball coach Bill Wilhelm’s players to sign a professional contract. His father, Bill, came next to Clemson, playing for Wilhelm on the baseball diamond and for Danny Ford as a punter on the football field.
The Spiers legacy continued as Michael Spiers followed Bill, and in 1991 was named the MVP of the ACC Baseball Tournament and was a top player on the 1991 College World Series team that won a school-record 61 games.
“Yeah, nobody in my family really cares for them.” “Well there were those five years that weren't too good," Spiers said. "I remember going back to school those next Mondays (after losing to the Gamecocks). That was never fun. But there are definitely some good ones. My junior and senior year were the first two that we won after the five and those are some good ones to bounce back from that.”
Whether you are a player or a coach, when week 13 finally rolls around, you know what it means.
“We are focused on winning the game,” co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “This is something that is big for the state. It is personal for me. It is personal for a lot of guys from the state of South Carolina, and for the players that may not be from the state, it is going to be personal to them down the road.”
Swinney understand this game is “one you live with”
Don’t ask Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney if this week’s game agianst the Gamecocks matters or not with an ACC Championship looming because he fully understands what this game means to the state, the players and the coaches.
”Means the same to me that it means to everyone else in this state - the state championship,” Swinney said Sunday night. “It would mean we were 12-0 if we won. You live with this one for 365 days. We can't be 12-0 if we don't take care of business this week. This is a goal of its own, a season of its own.”