Posts

A New Home With a Name

 

Last year, the Clemson Softball team, in their inaugural season that was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, finished 19-8 overall and 5-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. This year, they started their highly anticipated second season in the newly named McWhorter Stadium, thanks to the generosity of Stuart McWhorter ’91 and Leigh Anne Hendrix McWhorter of Nashville, Tennessee, who pledged a Cornerstone Gift of $2.5 million to IPTAY in support of the softball program.

“We are so grateful to Stuart, Leigh Anne and their entire family for their generous commitment to Clemson Athletics and the softball program,” said President Jim Clements. “We are excited about the direction of the program and are thankful to the McWhorters for becoming Cornerstone Partners and being such a significant part of the foundation of softball at Clemson.”

Adjacent to the baseball facilities, McWhorter Stadium features 1,000 fixed chairback seats in addition to berm seating. The facility also includes a team clubhouse with more than 12,000 square feet of space that houses a team lounge, locker room, sports medicine room, equipment room and coaches’ offices. It includes a press box with three broadcast booths and a videoboard and also houses locker rooms for the coaches, umpires and visiting teams. In its inaugural season in 2020, the softball program averaged 1,544 fans per game, ranking first in the Atlantic Coast Conference in attendance and fifth nationally. 

“We have the utmost sense of gratitude, pride and appreciation for the opportunity to come to work, practice and play in a facility as nice as ours each and every day. Our facility demonstrates the high level of support and resources that IPTAY and the McWhorter family have provided our young program,” said Clemson Softball head coach John Rittman. “Our first-class facility gives our student-athletes, coaches and support staff all of the tools necessary to be successful. On behalf of our players and staff, we are truly appreciative of all of the generous IPTAY members who have donated their time and money in order for us to be able to call this facility our home.”

Stuart McWhorter has supported Clemson University since he was a student and served as the Tiger mascot from 1987 to 1990. Since then, he and Leigh Anne have given generously to Universitywide initiatives in both athletics and academics.

Stuart and Leigh Anne are distinguished members of Clemson’s Cumulative Giving Society and the President’s Leadership Circle. Stuart was a founding member of the Leadership Committee for the University’s 10-year capital campaign, The Will to Lead, and he served on the Clemson Athletics Tiger Pride Capital Campaign Cabinet.

Stuart was previously a member of the Clemson University Foundation Board, and he and Leigh Anne are members of the Founder Society for the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Stuart has also shared his success with his alma mater when he served as an executive-in-residence, focusing on Clemson’s entrepreneurship and economic engagement efforts.

Stuart and Leigh Anne live in Nashville with their five children: Clayton, a first-year student at Clemson, Thomas, Caroline, Marleigh and Layla.

As Clemson’s softball program sits near the top of the ACC in its second season, the extraordinary generosity of Stuart and Leigh Anne has provided Clemson Softball with a strong foundation and given Tiger fans plenty to cheer about. 

The Good House

Student athletes completed a Habitat for Humanity home build project

Athletes build Habitat for Humanity house

Clemson Athletics and Pickens County Habitat for Humanity teamed up to construct a home build project in the city of Clemson. Three hundred and thirty student athletes logged over 1200 hours to build the home from scratch and were present from day one to the day of the house’s dedication on January 16th. The project took over a year to complete.

Funded in part by IPTAY and the Nieri Family Student-Athletics Enrichment Center, the home build was completed by student athletes representing all of Clemson’s athletic programs, making this the first time Clemson athletes have built a Habitat house from start to finish.

Weather conditions posed the most serious challenge for the group. Some days it was freezing; other days it rained and turned the ground to mud, forcing the volunteers to lay down tarps before they could continue to work on the foundation. Their tireless efforts resulted in a three-bedroom house — where Tabitha Good and her family now live.

Many student athletes had the opportunity to work alongside the Good family, including former men’s track and field runner Darron Coley.

“I knew they were coming from a rough situation, I knew about the time and energy they put in, and I knew that they worked hard to get their house,” said Coley. “Knowing that I made an impact, no matter how small, was really great.”

The student athletes who participated appreciated the chance to not only bond with their fellow classmates but also pitch in for the greater community. The project provided ample time to reflect.

“The little things we do can actually be a lot bigger than us,” said Maura Chozick, a senior on the women’s rowing team. “Putting in a couple nails, having fun with my friends, hammering some things turned into a house.”

Several coaches and faculty members were also able to work on the build with their students. Women’s soccer coach Eddie Radwanski was thankful for the opportunity to contribute meaningful work alongside his students.

“All of our student athletes, they all come from different backgrounds; they have different stories. I think these moments provide great perspective,” he said. “Obviously there are things that you can talk about as a coach: You can try to educate or give a life lesson to somebody. But in moments like these, no words are really needed.”