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Clemson confirms iconic Howard’s Rock was vandalized

Howard's Rock AP

And before you ask, no, we have no clue where Harvey Updyke was involved.

Earlier today, Twitter chatter began to surface that the famed Howard’s Rock at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium was vandalized at some point of late by an unknown number of perpetrators.  In a press release Wednesday evening, the school confirmed that The Rock , named in honor of legendary Tigers head coach and College Football Hall of Famer Frank Howard, “was vandalized sometime  June 2nd or June 3rd.”

“We take vandalism, especially of such an important part of our history, very seriously,” said athletic director Dan Radakovich in a statement. “Police are investigating.”

The release from the school added that “[a] small portion of The Rock was broken off of its pedestal after vandals broke the casing that protects the artifact.”

Thanks to one of CFT’s Twitter followers — thank you, @trentacker for the heads up — we have what’s believed to be photographic evidence of the damage done to The Rock:

Howard's Rock

And, for those unfamiliar with Howard’s Rock, here’s a video clip of as well as the Wiki description of the hallowed tradition:

In the early 1960s, the rock was given to then head coach Frank Howard by a friend, Samuel Columbus Jones (Clemson Class of 1919). It was presented to Howard by Jones, saying “Here’s a rock from Death Valley, California, to Death Valley, South Carolina.” Howard didn’t think anything else about the rock and it was used as a door stop in his office for several years. In September 1966, while cleaning out his office, Howard noticed the rock and told IPTAY executive director Gene Willimon, “Take this rock and throw it over the fence or out in the ditch…do something with it, but get it out of my office.” Willimon had the rock placed on a pedestal at the top of the east endzone hill that the team ran down to enter the field for games. On September 24, 1966, the first time Clemson players ran by the rock, they beat conference rival Virginia, 40-35. Howard, seizing on the motivational potential of “The Rock”, told his players, “Give me 110% or keep your filthy hands off of my rock.” The team started rubbing the Rock for the first game of 1967, which was a 23-6 waxing of ACC foe Wake Forest.

It is now a tradition for the Clemson Army ROTC to “protect” the Rock for the 24 hours prior to the Clemson-South Carolina game when held in Death Valley. ROTC cadets keep a steady drum cadence around the rock prior to the game, which can be heard across the campus. Part of the tradition comes after unknown parties vandalized the Rock prior to the 1992 Carolina-Clemson game.

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27 Responses to “Clemson confirms iconic Howard’s Rock was vandalized”
  1. flatfoot8 says: Jun 12, 2013 9:38 PM

    There’s a strong odor coming from Columbia!

  2. Sarah C says: Jun 12, 2013 9:55 PM

    Reblogged this on Strong-Fit-Beautiful and commented:
    To the person who did this: you are a sick, sad, terrible person. Don’t think that this will go unpunished … why would you destroy one of the most iconic symbols/traditions in the history of college football? Clemson fans are nothing if not some of the kindest, most loyal people you’ll ever come across. So I guess thanks for giving us another reason to have an amazing season come fall. GO TIGERS!

  3. alligatorsnapper says: Jun 12, 2013 9:58 PM

    When the trees at Toomer’s Corner–Auburn were poisoned, people began to look at Bama. Now Howard’s Rock is vandalized, people will look at USCe.

    The rivalry is deep seated and heated, as are so many rivalries in college football. The next game between those in-state rivals ought to be a great one, emotions will be sky high.

  4. abrellbama says: Jun 12, 2013 10:15 PM

    Well you can rule out Harvey Updyke. He didn’t get out of jail til 6/9/13 so he has a pretty solid alibi but it is very sad that anyone would want to vandalize anything, including a rock at a college.

  5. canetic says: Jun 12, 2013 10:45 PM

    I thought Charlie Brown started the tradition of getting a rock as a gift.

  6. davepol says: Jun 12, 2013 11:08 PM

    What the hell is wrong with people?

  7. tigersgeaux says: Jun 12, 2013 11:44 PM

    Good question.

    A regular poster here at CFT is the physician of the family of “southernpatriots.” He is currently in Moore, OK helping those in need there. He told me of a time many decades ago when Tulane students opened Mike the Tiger’s cage (LSU has a live mascot, a huge Bengal tiger) and let him loose. Mike the Tiger roamed the campus until early the next morning when a co-ed on her way to class confronted her fears with a huge Bengal tiger sauntering along across her path!

    I hope Clemson fans example their school and behave well and do not retaliate. This was a silly and shameful act by at this point some unknown miscreant. I would think there will be some video tape or a witness who will come forth at some point and the culprit will be identified.

  8. classyjacklambert says: Jun 13, 2013 7:10 AM

    Typical Columbia filth.

  9. rcbn says: Jun 13, 2013 8:04 AM

    It’s a rock folks! Let’s worry more about the state of our economy!

  10. benvincible says: Jun 13, 2013 8:06 AM

    The Person(s) involved in this ridiculous and idiotic act DO NOT represent the tradition and etiquette of any institution of higher learning.

    Clemson or USC.

    They are pathetic.

    And unfortunately finger pointing and suspicion are a bi-product of the passionate rivalry of our great state schools.

  11. scalpemseminoles says: Jun 13, 2013 8:54 AM

    bama: 1
    tree: 0

    cocky: 1
    rocky: 0

  12. classyjacklambert says: Jun 13, 2013 9:17 AM

    Clemson students would probably retaliate and vandalize something nice in Columbia but they would actually have to find something worth vandalizing first.

  13. raysfan1 says: Jun 13, 2013 9:53 AM

    Real fans respect their rivals. Even if the perpetrator(s) think he’s a Gamecock fan, he isn’t. He’s just a criminal who deserves to be in jail for a year and permanently banned from all Gamecock events.

  14. jonkybon says: Jun 13, 2013 2:08 PM

    I would suggest Clemson fans might consider vandalizing the USC-east football trophy case, but God has already taken care of that.

    Fans don’t need to take any action at all. Let law enforcement handle the sick turd as they did in Alabama and let the team take it out on the field in November. That game suddenly has a hell of a lot more riding on it.

  15. bmaddc says: Jun 13, 2013 2:29 PM

    Well some idiot clemsux fan already vandalized USC’s stadium by spray painting orange tiger paws on the field and on the historic rail cars by the stadium a couple of months ago. But hey, we dont need to break that damn rock, we kill them on the field, especially the last 4 years straight. Go Gamecocks

  16. jonkybon says: Jun 13, 2013 3:08 PM


    Richland County Police stated the spray painting was done by a USC-east coach to motivate the team prior to the Spring Game. There was no word yet on the rail car, that was painted prior to being placed at it’s current location. In others words, it’s not it’s original paint any way. In both cases paint is easily removed or covered, a far cry from the permanent destruction performed by the scumbag. Yet only the inbred retarded coots would condone it. Even Auburn fans distanced themselves from the tree killer.

    Yes, the Jailcocks have won the last four, but have also only won 41 of the 110 meetings. Only a coot would consider more than 60% ‘killing’ their opponnant.

    The Jailcocks and many of their fans belong in cells. You are a very, very mentally disturbed group!!!

  17. jonkybon says: Jun 13, 2013 3:14 PM

    Excuse me, 60% LOSING as killing

  18. bmaddc says: Jun 13, 2013 3:20 PM


    Clemson fans always bring out stats from when they probably weren’t even alive. What have you done for me LATELY? Spurrier owns Dabo….no doubt about that. Boyd will probably have a great season against the little acc ….until November 30th when Clowney is unleashed and makes him his bitch like he has done the last 2 years. SEC SEC SEC SEC

    But seriously, no schools’ property, regardless of rivalry should be vandalized, I was in no way condoning it.

  19. cuckflemson says: Jun 13, 2013 5:57 PM

    Looks like Howard’s rock pulled a Clemson and fell apart.

  20. classyjacklambert says: Jun 13, 2013 8:59 PM


    Yes Clemson clearly fell apart when they won the most thrilling bowl game of the year last year. Or when they brought home the state’s only National Championship in a major sport. Or with their winning about 50% of their bowl games (compared to South Carolina’s 33%). Honestly it’s only through generosity and tradition that Clemson allows the Gamecocks to call themselves a rival.

  21. cuckflemson says: Jun 13, 2013 9:18 PM

    Most delusional fanbase EVER. The thumb is coming. You can have the history if it makes you feel good.

  22. bmaddc says: Jun 13, 2013 9:26 PM

    Only national championship in a major sport? USC won back to back College World Series in 2010/2011….We won the SEC East in 2010…..Id love to see Clemson play in the SEC year after year instead of teams like BC, Duke, and Wake…..again Clemson fans always bring up past history they prob weren’t even alive for….how bout presently???Presently you are our little bitch….get over it, compete, and do better.

  23. classyjacklambert says: Jun 13, 2013 9:47 PM

    Sorry but most people don’t consider college baseball a major sport since no one whose team actually isn’t playing a game in it watches it. I think women’s basketball and Lacrosse have more viewers, which should tell you something. And yes South Carolina had a brutal schedule last year against the likes of Kentucky, Vandy, Tennessee, and Arkansas…. lol. You guys are on your longest winning streak EVER, and it’s barely half of ours. We basically own you across the board in academics and sports and you have to live in Columbia, SC, the rear entry of the country. We’d hate you if we didn’t pity you and your pathetic existences.

  24. bmaddc says: Jun 13, 2013 10:24 PM

    Clearly you don’t know much cuz college baseball def makes more money and it is clearly a major sport. And I do NOT Live in Columbia. Born and raised in DC and I returned home after graduation lol and Clemson is like a mile big with NOTHING around it….sooo boring. Aight I’m done with this. See you this season lol

  25. 1990tiger says: Jun 15, 2013 12:47 AM

    jonkybon says: Jun 13, 2013 3:08 PM

    Even Auburn fans distanced themselves from the tree killer.
    Maybe that’s because the tree killer was an Alabama fan and the trees he killed were on Auburn’s campus????

  26. clemsonstillsucks says: Jun 16, 2013 12:36 AM

    I wholeheartedly agree that this type of behavior has no place in this rivalry. Next thing you know, Clemson fans from the Upstate will be vandalizing the Five Points area bars…or electing a state representative or senator to send to Columbia to wreak havoc…or….okay, it would be something that had never been done before.

    Of course, it could have also been a local mistaking it for another kind of “rock.”

  27. clemsonstillsucks says: Jun 16, 2013 12:45 AM

    LOL – and I posted that before I read Classless Jack’s ramblings. Too funny. Sounds like Jack smoked a piece of Howard’s Rock.

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