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MAIN Bill Spiers, Will Spiers

Clemson assistant Bill Spiers, left, is joined by his son and Clemson punter Will Spiers in celebrating after the 2017 win over South Carolina in Columbia.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Former Clemson punter, baseball player,13-year veteran of Major League Baseball and former Calhoun Academy head coach Bill Spiers has been a part of great teams before.

But none will go down in history the same as the 2018 Clemson Tiger team — the first major college football team to go 15-0.

“It’s unbelievable to think about,” Spiers said. “To have the privilege of being a part of this historic team is an honor and I can’t thank Coach (Dabo) Swinney enough for the opportunity to be a part of this team.”

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Spiers is not only the father of starting punter Will Spiers, he is also a member of the coaching staff.

Spiers joined Swinney’s staff in 2016 as a part of the Tiger Trust program, which allows former student-athletes who left college early for pro careers to retune to school and earn a degree at the school’s expense — which he did.

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After a 13-year career in the MLB, Spiers returned and earned his degree ion parks, recreation and tourism management. However, he couldn’t find it in his heart to leave the program after earning his degree — deciding to remain on the staff as a senior assistant for offense and special teams.

The decision to remain on the staff that afforded him the opportunity to watch Will, who redshirted in the 2016 season when the Tigers won their first national championship under Swinney, play a role in the Clemson victory — this time as the Tigers’ starting punter.

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“It is so special,” Spiers said. “I can’t even express to you how proud I am of Will and the whole team. This was a special group of young men to be around all season and to see them finish off the season this way is beyond unbelievable.”

But Spiers was close to not having a special moment with his son because he was unsure whether he would take Swinney up on his offer to return to school.

“I had to do a lot of thinking and praying about the decision because I wanted Will to be able to have his own experience in college and not feel like dad was always looking over his shoulder,” Spiers said. “But Coach Swinney wasn’t having any of it. He was like, ‘Man, you are coming here. We have all kinds of parents with kids on this team.’

“He wouldn’t take no for an answer. So, I owe him a huge thanks. Without him I would not have been a part of two national championships and more importantly been a part of them with my family.”

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You see, it is not only Will and Bill who are a part of the Tiger football program. Bill’s eldest daughter, Ashley, is also a member of the Tiger football program — working for Swinney in the football offices.

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“It truly is a family experience for us,” Spiers said. “I mean to have two of my children as a part of the program, it is more than I could have hoped for. I cannot thank Coach Swinney enough.”

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Zach Lentz is a Clemson University alumnus who got his start working with the Tigers basketball team from 1999-2004. Now a resident of Orangeburg County, he reports on Clemson sports as a correspondent for The Times and Democrat. He also serves as a co-host of Solid Orange, seen at 11 p.m. Wednesdays on WACH FOX 57 in Columbia.

 

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