Clemson Announces 2016 Hall of Fame Class


CLEMSON, S.C. (CU SID) — A record 11 new members will enter the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame this fall. The announcement was made by Bob Mahony, director of Clemson’s Block C Club. The class will be honored the weekend of November 12, 2016 when the Tiger football team plays Pittsburgh in Memorial Stadium.

This year’s class includes 10 former student-athletes and one coach/administrator. The list includes representatives from nine different sports, including a two-sport athlete. Nine of the 11 were All-Americans and four went on to play multiple years of professional team sports.

The class includes three former Tigers who played football. Jeb Flesch was an All-American offensive lineman between 1988-91 and started on two ACC Championship teams. Rod Gardner was an All-American in 2000 who led the Tigers to a top-15 national ranking.  He was a first-round draft choice who played six years in the NFL. Lou Cordileone was a first-round draft choice of the New York Giants in 1960 and was also a starter on Clemson’s 1959 College World Series baseball team.

Chris Whitney and Denny Walling were transfer student-athletes who went on to play many years in the professional ranks in their respective sports. Whitney was an All-ACC basketball player for Clemson in 1992-93, then played 10 years in the NBA. Walling played just one year of baseball at Clemson in 1975, but hit .421 and was the ACC Player of the Year. He had a 15-year career in the Major Leagues.

Three female student-athletes will be inducted, and all three earned All-America honors and were named to their respective ACC 50-Year Anniversary teams in 2003. Jan Kemmerling was an eight-time All-American and two-time ACC Champion in swimming from 1985-88. Nikkie Bouyer was a combined five-time All-American in indoor and outdoor track in the 1990s, while Cathy Hofer was a tennis All-American and ACC Player of the Year in 1988.

Speaking of women’s tennis, Hofer’s coach at Clemson, Andy Johnston, also will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Johnston served that program for 15 years and led 12 teams to top-25 finishes. He led his team to five consecutive ACC Championships over his first five years.

Paul Rutenis and Kent Kinnear also will be inducted this fall. Rutenis is one of just two Clemson student-athletes in history to start for two National Championship teams. He was a common denominator in the starting lineup for Clemson’s 1984 and 1987 soccer NCAA Championship teams. Kinnear won over 100 singles and 100 doubles matches in his tennis career in the 1980s when he helped Clemson to four straight top-20 seasons.


 ANDY JOHNSTON — Women’s Tennis Coach (1983-97), Football Administrator (1998-14)

  • Guided his squads to five consecutive ACC titles (1983-87)
  • Coached Clemson to 12 top-25 finishes
  • In his first season with the Tigers in 1983, he directed Clemson to a school-record 30 wins, an ACC title and a No. 7 national ranking
  • In 1983, the Tigers swept all nine flights of the ACC Tournament that year, a first in ACC tennis history, men or women
  • ACC Coach-of-the-Year four times, tied for fourth in Clemson history, and was selected as the Southeast Region Coach-of-the-Year twice
  • Seven players that he coached were named to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary team in 2003
  • During his tenure, the Tigers earned 51 All-ACC selections and 13 All-America honors
  • Compiled a 254-160 record at Clemson
  • After retiring as a coach, served Clemson football coaches Tommy West, Tommy Bowden and Dabo Swinney for 17 seasons as an administrator

JEB FLESCH — Football (1988-91)

  • Consensus first-team All-American by Associated Press, UPI, Football News and Walter Camp Foundation in 1991
  • Also first-team All-ACC selection in 1991 when he had team-best 77 knockdown blocks
  • Had 267 career knockdown blocks, still one of the top five totals in Clemson history
  • Started 45 consecutive games, with 2,630 career snaps
  • Starter on ACC Championship teams of 1988 and 1991 and started bowl wins over Oklahoma, West Virginia and Illinois

ROD GARDNER — Football (1997-2000)

  • First-team All-American in 2000 by College & Pro Football Weekly and Gannett News
  • Semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award in 2000
  • Set Clemson’s career record for receptions (166) and was third in receiving yards (2,498) when he graduated
  • First receiver in Clemson history with a 1,000-yard season, he did it back to back in 1999 and 2000
  • Led the ACC in receptions in 1999 when he set a single-season school record with 80 catches
  • IPTAY Athlete-of-the-Year for 2000-01
  • Remembered for 50-yard catch in final seconds against South Carolina that set up winning field goal in 16-14 win in 2000
  • First-round draft choice of Washington Redskins in 2001, the 15thselection of the draft
  • Played in the NFL from 2001-06

DENNY WALLING — Baseball (1975)

  • Highest career batting average at Clemson with minimum 100 at-bats (.421)
  • Highest career slugging percentage (.807) in 1975 (minimum 100 at-bats)
  • Led the NCAA in RBIs per game (1.58) in 1975
  • Second in the nation with a .807 slugging percentage in 1975
  • Fourth in the nation in home runs per game (.34) in 1975
  • Tenth in the nation with a .421 batting average in 1975
  • ACC Player-of-the-Year in 1975
  • All-Atlantic Region selection in 1975
  • ABCA first-team All-American & Sporting News All-American in 1975
  • First-round draft choice who played 15 years in the Majors

CHRIS WHITNEY — Men’s Basketball (1991-93)

  • Third-team All-ACC in 1992-93 when he was the only ACC player to rank in the top five in the league in five statistical categories that year
  • Second-team All-ACC Tournament selection in 1992-93
  • Had a 14.6 scoring average over two seasons, the 11th-best mark in Clemson history
  • Averaged 6.1 assists for his career, second-best in school history
  • Had 193 assists, 87 three-point goals and 73 steals to rank among the ACC leaders in all areas as a senior
  • Named team MVP as a junior and senior
  • Named to the NABC All-Star game after his senior season
  • Ranked in the top 15 in ACC history in assists per game, three-point percentage and steals per game
  • Second-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 1993
  • Played 11 seasons in the NBA and now works for the Charlotte Bobcats

PAUL RUTENIS — Men’s Soccer (1984-87)

  • Coaches Association All-American in 1987
  • First-team All-ACC in 1986 and 1987
  • First-team All-South in 1985 and 1987
  • Four-year starter at Clemson from 1984-87
  • He and Bruce Murray are the only athletes in Clemson history to start on two National Championship teams
  • Captain of Clemson’s 1987 National Championship team

KENT KINNEAR — Men’s Tennis (1985-88)   

  • 1987 All-American in doubles
  • 1988 ACC Tournament MVP
  • 1985 ACC Champion, No. 3 doubles
  • 1988 ACC Champion, No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles
  • Seventh on the Clemson career list for most singles wins (127)
  • Eighth on the Tigers’ career list for most doubles wins (111)
  • Named to the ACC’s 50-Year Anniversary Team

JAN KEMMERLING — Women’s Swimming (1985-88)

  • Eight-time All-American
  • ACC Champion in the 800 relay in 1986
  • ACC champion in 200 individual medley
  • Named to the ACC’s 50-Year Anniversary Team


CATHY HOFER — Women’s Tennis (1986-89)

  • 1986 Singles All-American
  • 1988 ACC Player-of-the-Year
  • 1988 ACC Champion, No. 1 singles
  • Was 10thin the final 1988 ITA singles rankings
  • Fifth on Clemson’s career singles wins list (102)
  • Named to the ACC’s 50-Year Anniversary Team

NIKKIE BOUYER — Women’s Track & Field (1996-99)

  • Five-time All-American (three indoors, two outdoors)
  • Top individual NCAA finish was fifth in the 55 hurdles in 1998
  • Three-time ACC Champion in three different events (200 dash, 4×100, 4×400)
  • 10-time All-ACC performer
  • Still ranks among the top 10 of Clemson’s career leaders in four events (indoor 200, 60 hurdles, 100 hurdles and 400 hurdles)
  • Named to the ACC’s 50-Year Anniversary Team

 LOU CORDILEONE — Football and Baseball (1957-59)

  • First-team Academic All-American and on field All-American in 1959
  • Starting offensive tackle on two ACC Championship football teams (1958, 59)
  • Helped Tigers to top-15 final rankings both of those seasons
  • Played in the 1959 College World Series as Clemson’s starting right fielder
  • Played in the Sugar Bowl and the Bluebonnet Bowl as well in 1959
  • First-round draft choice of the New York Giants in 1960, he was the No. 12 overall selection
  • Named to Clemson’s All-Centennial team in 1996
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