Top 5 Stories of 2010

With Christmas essentially here and the start of the New Year a week away, CUTigers takes a look back on the five biggest stories for the orange and white in 2010.

Former Clemson baseball coach Bill Wilhelm, the winningest coach in Clemson sports history, passed at Oconee Memorial Hospital in Seneca on Christmas Eve. He was 81.

During his 36 years at Clemson, Wilhelm won 1,161 games, the most in school history in any sport.

Under his direction, the Tigers made it to six College World Series. He won 11 ACC Championships and 19 regular season titles.

Wilhelm coached 20 All-Americans, 27 players who went on to play Major League Baseball, 88 first-team All-ACC selections and 100 of his former players signed professional baseball contracts.

After accumulating a 138-90 record in seven seasons at Clemson, Oliver Purnell abruptly left for bluer pastures in Chicago, accepting the DePaul job on April 7.

Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips learned of the move around 1:30 a.m. that morning, after Purnell had already decided to accept the new position.

In his final season at Clemson, Purnell led the Tigers to the 2010 NCAA tournament with a 21-10 record (9-7 ACC).

He reached the NCAA tournament in three straight seasons, losing in the first round in each appearance. Under his direction in ACC play, Clemson went 50-62.

Brad Brownell was hired as Purnell's replacement.

The former Wright State coach came to Clemson with a 167-85 record. The .663 winning percentage ranked in the top 30 nationally among active Division I coaches.

There was a time not all that long ago when the word bust was uttered in the same sentence as Da'Quan Bowers.

Through his first two seasons at Clemson, Bowers struggled to live up to his five-star billing, totaling just four sacks.

Back it in the preseason, coaches challenged him to do the little things that would make him a dominant player. And he's did just that, picking up 15.5 sacks so far this season.

The first-team All-American was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He also won the Nagurski and Hendricks awards.

The solid junior season came on the heels of the three untimely deaths. Former Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams, Bowers' "big brother," died in January.

Bowers' father, Dennis, died in August.

His mentor, Eric Bamberg, died shortly after Bowers buried his father.

Will he stay or will he go?

That was the question Clemson fans yearned to know in the weeks after Kyle Parker was taken by the Colorado Rockies in the first-round of the June draft.

Most assumed he was gone.

Parker, who graduated high school a semester early to play baseball at Clemson, signed a contract with the Rockies in late July. He also decided to come back for one more season of football.

He's thrown for 4,605 yards and 32 touchdowns in 26 games as the Tigers' starting quarterback.

Parker is also the only player in NCAA history to throw 20 touchdown passes and hit 20 homeruns in the same academic year.

But it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows in his second season as the starting quarterback.

He's thrown for over 2,000 yards this season, with 12 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.

Among circles of fans, Parker's become one of the most polarizing Clemson athletes in recent years.

It was early June. Clemson had already picked up a commitment from one of the top running backs in Florida in four-star Marlin Lane. His had been almost a year to the day earlier.

On June 6, five-star running back Mike Bellamy pledged his commitment to the Tigers' 2011 class.

The Charlotte High School (Punta Gorda) senior fancies himself as the next C.J. Spiller, and for good reason, too. Bellamy finished his high school career with over 7,000 yards rushing and 100 touchdowns.

A month later, Cortez Davis, Lane's Mainland High School teammate, re-joined the class.

Then, in late November, Clemson added a second five-star wide receiver to the class when South Fort Myers' Sammy Watkins, the No. 2 ranked wide receiver, gave his commitment.

Clemson still has its eyes on Tony Steward, the nation's top linebacker, who hails from Saint Augustine. Top Stories