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Clemson AD: Softball Stadium Won't Affect Tailgating

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Copyright 2018 The Post and Courier
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Post & Courier (Charleston, SC)

 

CLEMSON — As the athletic director of a Power 5 school that is always in motion, Dan Radakovich can't stop thinking about the future.

"Long term," the Clemson athletic director said, "you're always looking to see what might be next."

And at Clemson, there is no shortage.

As it stands now, the tennis complex is still under construction, while the first phase of a new soccer locker room, complete with a coaches' office complex, has been approved by the university's Board of Trustees. At the end of the 2018 football season, the athletic department decided to demolish the current IPTAY building in favor of a new one for the university's booster club.

But perhaps Radakovich's biggest undertaking of the year is coming in December, when the athletic department will start to oversee the construction of a new softball stadium for a program that expects to start competing in 2020.

Clemson's board has approved the location for the softball stadium, which will go right next to the baseball team's Doug Kingsmore Stadium and right by the ever-popular fall tailgating area in the grassy field lined with RVs known as Jervy Meadows.

Radakovich is well aware that Clemson football fans are concerned about what the softball stadium will mean for tailgaters in the fall.

But fear not, he says.

"For football gameday Saturdays, it will be the same," Radakovich said. "It will be a couple hundred spots lighter because of the footprint of the stadium, but especially with motor homes that are so important to the atmosphere of our whole stadium and surrounding, we want that to continue to be as positive an experience for those folks as we can. No major changes there."

The plan, Radakovich explained, is to break ground for the softball stadium in December, which means the 2018 football season will be over before any construction begins.

The athletic department still plans to utilize as much space as it can around both the baseball and softball stadiums for football Saturdays, and the cuts should be minor in terms of parking.

Clemson decided back in March 2017 that it would add softball to its list of women's sports in place of women's diving. Radakovich has already hired John Rittman to run the program. The coach has been on the recruiting trail for more than a year.

Exactly how that process goes remains to be seen, but Radakovich is adamant it will not damper the football fan experience. He knows how detrimental that would be to the university.

"I think we're always looking at ways to help the fan experience whether it's traffic, whether it's parking," Radakovich said. "All of those things are still very high on our list."

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June 26, 2018
 
 
 

 

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