Solid Orange, $2 bills and Clemson Ice Cream. A look at the biggest Tiger traditions.
Thousands of Tigers have left their mark with time-honored traditions and tiger-specific rituals. And some have been added through the years. At the end of the day, Clemson traditions are all about pride, family and — as always — our Solid Orange spirit.
Every Friday, we wear orange. But orange isn’t just a color. It’s a way of life. Solid Orange is about pride — the swell you feel in your heart when the Tigers score a touchdown or the warmth of a helping hand.
When heading to an away game, Tigers trade in their cash for $2 bills and stamp them with a Tiger Paw to leave an unforgettable mark on all the turfs we pass through.
Where the Blue Ridge Yawns Its Greatness
The first verse and the chorus of Clemson’s “Alma Mater” are sung at the end of all Clemson sporting events. At the beginning of the note “O’er,” Tigers place their hands in the air with thumb tucked under and wave it as though you were holding a cap. This dates back to Clemson’s early military days when freshmen wore rat caps and waved them in the air during every football game.
The Song That Shakes the Southland
Join in with the Tiger Band as they salute our players with the University’s fight song. Clap your hands along with the beat of “Tiger Rag” until it comes time to spell out CLEMSON. Pump your fist into the air with each letter — C-L-E-M-S-O — then move your right hand in a clockwise circle as you draw out the O with an extra beat, finishing the cheer with a hurrahed N.
The cadence count dates back to Clemson’s military school days. When Tiger crowds hear the start of the cadence count they will roar: 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, C-L-E-M-S-O-N T-I-G-E-R-S, FIGHT TIGERS, FIGHT TIGERS, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!
It all starts in Death Valley. Stepping foot in the orange sanctuary will send shivers down the spines of new and old fans alike, leaving them with sore throats and stolen voices the following morning.
Nicknamed Death Valley, Clemson Memorial Stadium, built in 1942, is one of the nation’s largest and certainly one of the most spirited. During a trip to California’s Death Valley, an alumnus found a large white flint rock and presented it to Coach Frank Howard. The rock was inaugurated in 1966, but it wasn’t until the 1967 game against Wake Forest that the rubbing of The Rock would become a Clemson tradition. Coach Howard famously told his team, “If you’re going to give me 110 percent, you can rub that rock. If you’re not, keep your filthy hands off it.” Clemson won the game, and The Rock has become one of football’s greatest symbols.
Players rub The Rock before each home game as “Tiger Rag” plays and the boom of a blasting cannon mark their descent down the Hill. Greeted by 80,000 screaming fans, this ritual has been penned, “The most exciting 25 seconds in college football.”
When Head Football Coach Dabo Swinney was named interim coach in the middle of the 2008 season, he gathered the team together and told them that the next six weeks were going to be really tough, but he was “all in.” Then he laid out his plan for the rest of the season and ended with a note that whoever was “all in” with him should show up for practice two hours later. Everyone showed up, and a rallying cry was born.
Alumni wear wear their class rings with pride, knowing they are part of an elite group of people with a topnotch education from one of the friendliest, most-spirited universities. Before graduation, students wear their ring with the “C” facing in, so they can see it. After graduation, it’s worn with the “C” facing out, so others can see your Tiger roots.
Clemson Ice Cream
Since 1941, Clemson has been producing its world-famous blue cheese. It can be purchased alongside Clemson’s sweet and delectable ice cream, which is both made and sold by students, at the ’55 Exchange located in the Hendrix Center.