By nearly every measure, Dan Radakovich led Clemson to one of the best athletic years in school history in 2015-16. With a Fall semester featuring berths in the national championship games in both football and men’s soccer and Spring ACC championships in men’s golf and baseball, the Tigers recorded their highest finish in the Learfield Director’s Cup in a decade. In the classroom, 78 student-athletes earned degrees and while competing for national titles, both football and men’s soccer recorded record GPAs. Clemson’s Graduation Success Rate and Academic Progress Rate continue to be among the nation’s best as football, men’s basketball and women’s golf were recognized among the top 10 percent nationally in APR, with football earning the distinction for the sixth-consecutive year.
Named the 13th director of athletics in Clemson history on Dec. 1, 2012, Radakovich has continuously led the Tiger athletic department to high achievements both on the field and in the classroom while developing significant upgrades in finance and facilities. Following the 2014-15 academic year, Radakovich was named a finalist for the SportsBusiness Journal Athletics Director of the Year Award. Since his arrival in December 2013, the athletic department has received approvals for $176 million in facility improvements and increased spending on direct student-athlete development programs including nutrition, mental health and professional development by $2.4 million.
His department has increased overall revenue from $69 million in fiscal year 2014 to a budgeted $99.7 million in FY17.
In 2014-15, Clemson student-athletes posted the highest athletic department GPA in school history with a 3.02 cumulative average in the Fall semester, and its NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate of 91 percent ranked third nationally among public institutions. Three programs were recognized by the NCAA for having top 10 percent APR marks, including football earning the honor for the fifth-consecutive year. The football program recorded its fourth-consecutive 10-win season and Clemson earned NCAA Tournament appearances in men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, track and field, baseball, rowing and men’s golf. Additionally, the school won Atlantic Coast Conference titles in men’s soccer, women’s indoor track and women’s outdoor track. Radakovich came to Clemson 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. College football entered a new era in 2014 with the College Football Playoff, and he was at the forefront. He was one of 13 people, including one of only five FBS directors of athletics, to be named to the committee. In 2012, he was named by NCAA President Mark Emmert as one of 10 directors of athletics to a new advisory commission charged with making recommendations for the future of NCAA rules and policies.
In his first full year as director of athletics in 2013-14, 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.
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, it had 51 teams advance to either NCAA Tourney 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. The baseball program missed just once. A total of 11 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 its second team title in 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. 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, beginning 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.
He became a director of athletics for the first time at American University in Washington, D.C. in 2000. Between 1994 and 2000, Radakovich served as chief financial officer at South Carolina. During that time, he worked with current Clemson football administrators Woody McCorvey and Brad Scott. He 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’s 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.