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Miller Family Becomes Newest Athletic Cornerstone Partner

 

The Westzone Club in Memorial Stadium has a new name. Lewis and Ree Miller of Spartanburg, South Carolina, recently gave a $2.5 million gift to Clemson Athletics, becoming the 16th Athletic Cornerstone Partners. In recognition of the Miller family’s donation, the WestZone Club in Memorial Stadium has been named the Lewis and Marie Miller Family WestZone Club.

“Clemson Athletics and IPTAY continue to remain leaders within intercollegiate athletics because of the extreme generosity of people like Lewis and Ree Miller,” says IPTAY CEO Davis Babb. “We are very appreciative of the commitment they have made to our student-athletes and our growing athletic program. Their gift will advance the initiatives within our athletic department providing a world-class student-athlete experience for our young men and women who wear the Paw.”

Lewis Miller earned his Bachelor of Science in industrial management from Clemson in 1971. As a student, he was actively involved in intramural sports and his fraternity, Kappa Sigma. He spent his career with the Southeastern Paper Group, where he began as a warehouse manager and worked his way to the role of CEO. Until being sold to NW Synergy in December 2020, Southeastern Paper was a third-generation family- and veteran-owned business headquartered in Spartanburg.

“As a Clemson alumnus, I take great pride in wearing the Tiger Paw and sharing the love of the Clemson Family,” says Miller. “We are honored to make this gift to Clemson in support of our talented student-athletes and all that they embody. Ree and I look forward to witnessing the continued success of current and future Tigers in all phases of their collegiate journeys.”

Ree Miller is a graduate of Winthrop University and is active in the Spartanburg community. Serving others is a priority for the Millers. They support the Hope Center for Children and Project Hope, which provides a lifespan of services for the autism community. Lewis Miller also sits on the board of directors for the Mountainview Nursing Home.

“We are grateful for the Miller Family and their unwavering support of Clemson athletics,” says former Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich. “Memorial Stadium is a special place on our campus. I am excited that their family will forever be a part of the facility with the naming of the Lewis and Marie Miller Family WestZone Club. Their gift will significantly impact our student-athletes for years to come, providing resources for them to be champions in competition and the classroom.”

 

 

Military Appreciation Weekend: Rebecca L. Stratford ’10, William J. Stratford ’09, William Matheny Jr. ’00 and Stephen Noel ’03

Tigers of all military branches — active duty and retired — gathered with their Tiger Rags at a tailgate during Military Appreciation weekend. From left to right, David Allen, petty officer 3rd class (retired); Joey Pace, sergeant major (retired); Michelle Noel, colonel (retired); Rebecca L. Stratford ’10, captain; William J. Stratford ’09, first lieutenant; William Matheny Jr. ’00, lieutenant colonel; and Stephen Noel ’03, major.

My Clemson: Bennie Lee Cunningham Jr.

 

“Bennie Cunningham was a man whose priorities were family and friendship — and the line was fuzzy between the two.”

December 23, 1954 – April 23, 2018

 


He has been called the greatest tight end in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The first African-American football player to make an All-America team in school history, he came to Clemson in 1972 and played on the football team from 1972 to 1975. He was a first-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976, and he played for that team until 1985, bringing home two Super Bowl rings. He was one of the greats of college and professional football. Yet, while his fame may have come from his prowess on the football field, his legacy was the many lives he touched and changed in those years and the years since.

Bennie Cunningham passed away on April 23, 2018, at the age of 63 after a battle with cancer.

When Cunningham retired from the Steelers, he returned to the classroom, first to finish his bachelor’s degree and then to earn a master’s degree in secondary education. He went on to a long career as a guidance counselor at West Oak High School in Westminster, where he shared his wisdom and direction with thousands of students over the years.

At his funeral at Seneca Baptist Church, filled to capacity with family, former teammates, professional colleagues and friends, the stories made it clear that Bennie Cunningham was a man whose priorities were family and friendship — and the line was fuzzy between the two. Friends became family.

Cunningham’s son, Bennie Cunningham III ’10, talked about his father’s legacy at Clemson, in Pittsburgh, and with his family: “My father planted trees that he may never have enjoyed the fruit from, and I think that’s our purpose: planting trees we may not enjoy the fruit of.”

As a student at Clemson, Cunningham won the Frank Howard Award, presented to an athlete each year for “bringing honor to Clemson.” He continued throughout his life to bring honor to Clemson. Coach Dabo Swinney called him “one of our greatest players, arguably the greatest tight end in our history and ACC history.”

But Swinney went on to say that “more importantly was the way he represented Clemson as a professional athlete and in his life after football.”

We are grateful for the life of Bennie Cunningham, and grateful that this was his Clemson.

Championship Legacy: Sons Make Winning a Family Affair

Perry Tuttle isn’t the only 1981 champion lucky enough to have his son follow in his footsteps. There are four other players on the current roster with ties to the 1981 team: twin sophomore linebackers J.D. and Judah Davis, sons of 1981 team captain Jeff Davis; Jarvis Magwood, a redshirt sophomore linebacker and son of wide receiver Frank Magwood; and Cannon Smith, a redshirt sophomore tight end and son
of defensive end Bill Smith.

MY CLEMSON: Eric Mac Lain ’15

 

during the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., Dec. 6, 2015. (Photo by Jason E. Miczek, theACC.com)

Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., Dec. 6, 2015. (Photo by Jason E. Miczek, theACC.com)

My name is Eric Mac Lain, and this past December, I became a Clemson alumnus. It was a day I thought would never come, but now that I am reflecting on it, I realize it happened in what seemed to be a blink of an eye.

My experiences at Clemson were second to none. I was very fortunate to have been a team captain during our special 2015 football season (14-1), losing only to Alabama in the National Championship. I graduated with a B.S. in health science and was able to start my master’s program in athletic leadership. This past fall, I had the honor of introducing Vice President Joe Biden when he spoke at Clemson.

More important than all of that, I found my future wife at Clemson. We met freshman year because she and my roommate were family friends, and I tagged along to a cookout. We became good friends and started dating two years later. So the phrase Clemson family is very real to me! Her father and other relatives went to Clemson, and both of our brothers now attend Clemson. It is safe to say that orange will run in our bloodlines for many years to come.

There is something special about Clemson that’s not true about every other University. As soon as we aren’t at Clemson or at least nearby, we miss it. I can attest to this because I have been away this spring training for the NFL, and cannot wait to be back in Tiger town.

I’m Eric Mac Lain and this is MY Clemson. CU soon!

You probably saw Eric Mac Lain during the coverage of the Orange Bowl and the National Championship as he was being interviewed by what seemed like every reporter in the country. Click on the photos below to see more about Eric’s life at Clemson.