That's just Tommy being ... Tommy

CLEMSON - With just over two weeks remaining until the start of preseason camp, now is as good a time as any to weigh in on the future of former Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden.

Especially with his recent comments indicating he was forced to resign.

But first things first ... it is easy to understand why this topic is frustrating for so many Clemson fans.

Bowden was the head coach of the Tigers for 10 years and not once did he deliver on an ACC Championship. In fact, he couldn't even deliver an Atlantic Division championship after the league was divided up in 2005.

There's a large contingent of the orange and purple nation that is simply ready to move on. They remember the excuses of being one West Zone away, one player away, and finally one play away from winning a championship and had checked out of the Clemson-Bowden marriage long ago.

They were tired of Tommy being, well, Tommy.

His comments in group settings weren't always the kind that left you feeling "warm and fuzzy." In addition, on many occasions, his timing was somewhat off.

And after all, it's been nine months now, and Clemson named Bowden's successor more than eight months ago. Isn't it time just let things be?

Perhaps, but not after Bowden's comments last week brought back such a wide range of emotions for so many fans.

Obviously, many are frustrated as stated above. So many seasons started out with so much promise only to be destroyed by some up and coming Wake Forest or Boston College team that always seemed underrated, yet always played with so much more heart.

Some are probably curious as to why he would say something now- nearly a year after the debacle that turned into his last couple of games as Clemson's head coach. Is it just his final parting shot at athletics director Terry Don Phillips because he was actually forced to resign?

Others would love to read a 200-page novel documenting how the events of the Oct. 13 day unfolded down to the very last uncomfortable hug between Bowden and Phillips in his final press conference before riding off into the sunset with a $3.5 million buyout.

And still others probably raised their eye brows on hearing the news because he is what he's always been - a Bowden. Regardless of what is printed these days on the downfall of the Bowden regime, there's still something about this family ... this football family.

There's Bobby, one of the all-time greats if not the best ever, even if the NCAA refuses to give back 14 wins that have been taken away due to recent violations.

There's Terry, the mouth of the south who led Auburn to an undefeated season before being run out of town. He's now the new head coach at North Alabama.

There's Jeff, who's legacy has truly been tarnished after a dismal stint as an offensive coordinator at Florida State and was always the center of controversy during his time there. Who knows what will become of him but he still wants to coach.

Then there's Tommy - a coach who built the literal foundation for what Dabo Swinney inherited in terms of a coaching staff, facilities and recruiting. A coach that came so close but could never quite capture a fan base or a team, in the same way he could capture a single individual or a player.

But still, he's a Bowden, and even though the overall legacy of the Bowden family may not hold the same luster today it did 10 years ago, it's still one of the biggest names in the history of southern football ... period.

And at some point, probably shortly before he decides to get back into coaching, the full truth on how Tommy's tenure in Tigertown came to a close the morning of Oct. 13, 2008 will likely come out.

Until it does, I don't know that it's worth arguing about because ultimately a change needed to be made. Whether or not Bowden was forced to resign or did so on his own free will because the pressure had finally taken its toll doesn't really matter.

I don't know with 100 percent certainty who initiated the break-up but at the end of the day it doesn't matter who did it, it only matters there is an actual separation.

And whether or not he fires a couple of more shots in the direction of the Clemson administration or Terry Don Phillips in particular, I couldn't tell you either. But I do know this ... Tommy Bowden will coach again.

I disagree with the notion that he'll only be back with a "big time program." I'm not sure he would want to dive back into the fishbowl that so many programs in the SEC or even the ACC have become. And to be honest, I'm not sure that a "big time program" in either league would view Tommy Bowden as an upgrade over whoever is coaching there now.

Is Tommy Bowden a good coach? Yes, absolutely.

He inherited a talent-deprived program at Clemson that was years, if not decades behind in facilities and brought it up to speed. His teams were bowl eligible every year at Clemson and he routinely pounded his arch rival like no other coach in the history of Tiger football, no offense Danny Ford.

But gaining bowl eligibility every year during a long stretch where the ACC was considered FSU and a bunch of also-rans wouldn't exactly get the fans in Baton Rouge or Rocky Top excited now would it?

And while Bowden came to Clemson as one of the hottest names in coaching circles in 1998, he hasn't truly put together a "great" season since when he led Tulane to an undefeated year that year, and some would argue that has much as to with Rich Rodriguez, then the Green Wave offensive coordinator, than Bowden himself.

But before long, Tommy Bowden will get his chance to coach again.

Whether it's South Florida or Central Florida, Conference USA or the Big East, or even a middle-tier program in the ACC or SEC, and whether it's next year or the year after ... he'll get his chance.

He's too good of a coach not to, and not great enough to simply walk away from what happened at Clemson and call it a career.

But his recent comments regarding his quick exit last October really shouldn't come as a surprise - not at all.

It's just Tommy being, well, Tommy.

And that's one of the reasons he's no longer the head coach at Clemson.

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