College football enters a new era in 2014 with the College Football Playoff, and Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich is at the forefront. In 2013, he was one of 13 people, including one of only five FBS directors of athletics, to be named to the committee.
His selection to the committee is another testament to the level of respect he carries on a national basis. In 2012, he was named by NCAA President Mark Emmert as one of 10 directors of athletics from around the nation to a new advisory commission charged with making recommendations for the future of NCAA rules and policies.
Radakovich became Clemson’s 13th director of athletics on Dec. 1, 2012. He came with a wealth of experience after serving in significant athletic administrative roles at Miami (Fla.), Long Beach State, South Carolina and Louisiana State in addition to athletic directorships at American University and Georgia Tech. His administrative career spans over 26 years.
In his first full year as director of athletics, Clemson had a strong all-around performance on the field and in the classroom. Clemson was one of just three programs nationally to win at least 11 football games, 23 men’s basketball games and 36 baseball games over the course of the academic year. Each of the Tiger sport programs exceeded the NCAA baseline standards for Academic Progress Rate, and six programs posted perfect 1000 single-year scores, including men’s and women’s cross country, diving, women’s soccer, women’s tennis and volleyball.
Six of Clemson’s athletic teams and more than 53 percent of all student-athletes posted a 2014 spring semester grade point average of 3.0 or better, and student-athletes earned a cumulative grade point average of 2.90.
In 2013, the football team finished with an 11-2 mark, a No. 7 national ranking in the USA Today poll and a top-10 ranking in APR score. The men’s basketball team reached the NIT semifinals in New York and the baseball team reached the NCAA Tournament for the 27th time in the last 28 years.
In women’s sports, the tennis team reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in the last 10 years and the golf team finished with a No. 14 national ranking in its first year of competition.
Those programs, plus the men’s tennis and men’s soccer teams, earned team bids to NCAA Tournaments.
He has always been a director of action when it comes to facilities, and in his first year, projects were put in place at the West endzone of Memorial Stadium and a new player facility at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. He also announced plans for a new Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tiger program had a strong finish to the 2012-13 academic year under Radakovich’s guidance. It finished with eight different teams achieving top-25 status. There were two ACC Championships recorded by the women’s track program. Both indoor track teams had top-25 finishes and both tennis teams had top-25 finishes in the spring.
Radakovich came to Clemson from Georgia Tech, where he served with distinction for six years (2006-12). Just Clemson’s fifth director of athletics since 1940, he replaced Terry Don Phillips, who retired after over 10 years directing the program.
During his career at Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets had 51 teams advance to either NCAA Tournament play or bowl games in his six years. That includes five sports (football, women’s basketball, softball, women’s tennis, men’s golf) that made the postseason every year that he was in Atlanta. The baseball program missed just once.
Eleven different sports programs finished in the top 25 of at least one major poll 27 times. That includes a National Championship women’s tennis program in 2007, just the second NCAA team title in school history. There were 14 ACC titles celebrated in addition to nine regular-season conference or division titles.
The football program played in a bowl game each year he was at Georgia Tech, including the 2010 Orange Bowl, the program’s first BCS-level bowl appearance since the 1967 Orange Bowl.
On an individual basis, the program had 51 first-team All-Americans in 10 sports, 30 academic All-Americans, two national coach-of-the-year selections and two national player-of-the-year selections. The program had 13 ACC Coach-of-the-Year and 13 ACC Player-of-the-Year choices as well.
The construction of new facilities or upgrades to existing ones was a focus of Radakovich’s tenure with the Yellow Jacket program, and it certainly is at Clemson as well. The John & Mary Brock Football Practice Facility, which opened in 2011, and McCamish Pavilion, which opened for basketball in 2012, are two of the top facilities of their kind in college athletics.
Radakovich also initiated the Athletic Director’s Initiative Fund, started in 2006, which raised cash and pledges of more than $12 million.
The Aliquippa, Pa. native was first made aware of Tiger athletics through the basketball exploits of Butch Zatezalo, who was from the same town. Zatezalo was a three-time All-ACC Tiger whose legendary 25-point scoring nights received a lot of attention in Pennsylvania in the 1960s when Radakovich was a youth.
Prior to his tenure at Georgia Tech, Radakovich worked as a senior associate athletic director at Louisiana State from 2001-06. He had many responsibilities that dealt with the football program and worked closely with then Head Coach Nick Saban, including the year (2003) the Tigers won the National Championship.
Radakovich became a director of athletics for the first time at American University in Washington, D.C. in 2000.
Between the 1994-00 seasons, Radakovich served as chief financial officer at South Carolina. During that time, he worked with current Clemson football administrators Woody McCorvey and Brad Scott.
Radakovich gained experience on the West Coast from 1989-94, when he was a senior associate athletic director at Long Beach State. He got his start in administration at Miami (Fla.) in 1983 as the athletic business manager.
Radakovich is a 1980 graduate of Indiana (Pa.), where he earned a bachelor of science degree in finance. He was also a football letterman and student coach with the Crimson Hawk program. He was enshrined into the Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and was recognized as a distinguished alumnus from Indiana (Pa.) in 2009.
He earned his master’s degree in business administration from Miami (Fla.) in 1982.
Radakovich, born June 9, 1958, and his wife, Marcie, have two children, Christian, a 2012 Georgia Tech graduate, and Grant, a student-athlete playing football at Mercer.