Spence Speaks

Rob Spence was more than a little surprised that Clemson football coach Tommy Bowden still wanted him to be the Tigers new offensive coordinator after making him wait nearly a month to conduct a formal interview. <BR>

Spence was first contacted about the Clemson job immediately following his Toledo team's victory over Miami of Ohio in the Mid-American Conference Championship on Dec. 2.

He asked Bowden to wait to discuss things in depth until at least Dec. 27, so he could devote his complete attention to the Rockets' game against Connecticut in the Motor City Bowl.

Bowden agreed.

"He was very patient with me," Spence said when contacted at his home Monday evening. "I couldn't believe he was still interested in me after all that time."

Following Toledo's disappointing 39-10 loss to the Huskies, Bowden still wanted Spence to lead the Clemson offense, so despite published reports that he had visited earlier in the month, Spence made his first visit to the Upstate late last week.

In fact, Spence brought his wife, Susan, and his two girls, Samantha and Sydney Rae, so that they could offer their opinion of Clemson as well.

"We had a very good trip," Susan Spence said. "It's a lovely place. We enjoyed it very much."

After returning to the Midwest, Spence and his family decided Sunday afternoon that a move to Clemson was right for them. He then informed Bowden that he had accepted the job.

There was no single reason, however, as to why Spence came to the conclusion to uproot his family and move to Clemson.

"I think it was a combination of things," Spence said. "Obviously the tradition at Clemson was a factor, as was the opportunity to work with Coach Bowden and play in one of the best conferences in the country. There was also the challenge of it all.

"It also seemed like the perfect place to raise a family."

Spence said he agreed to a two-year contract and although he wouldn't specify the exact amount, he said that the reported sum of roughly $200,000 a year was incorrect. He will also serve as the quarterbacks coach.

Also contingent on Spence accepting the job was the fact that he was given complete and total control of the offense. Bowden will still be involved to some degree, but Spence is primarily calling the shots.

"He's hired me to run the offense," Spence said. "He's made it perfectly clear that I'm running the offense."

Spence said he hasn't spoken to Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, but that he plans on doing so very soon. He also thinks there's no limit to what the offense can achieve next year and in the future.

"I think in this business you look for opportunity and you look for great situations," Spence said. "I loved working (at Toledo) and I loved working with the coaches and kids. It was a wonderful place. But I feel that Clemson can be the same thing and that I can develop some relationships at Clemson.

"Why not go somewhere where football is played at the highest level? I'm looking forward to coaching at Clemson and playing in that stadium in front of 85,000 screaming fans. Those fans are a difference maker. I know the support there is incredible and I'm looking forward to being a part of it."

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