McFadden participated in football, basketball, track

Updated: June 5, 2005, 1:36 AM ET
Associated Press

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Banks McFadden, an All-American halfback for Clemson in 1939, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was 88.

McFadden died in Ormond Beach, Fla., at the home of his daughter, Clemson spokesman Tim Bourret said.

Bourret said he and Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips called McFadden about 10 days ago to check on his health.

"He sounded great, like he was getting better," Bourret said.

McFadden, a College Football Hall of Famer who was also a star on the Tigers' basketball team, is generally regarded one of the greatest athletes in Clemson history. The school's football building is named for him and he was part of the first class inducted into the Ring of Honor, his name high up at football's Death Valley stadium.

McFadden will be buried next to the football stadium on Cemetery Hill, where Clemson's famed coach Frank Howard was laid to rest nearly a decade ago.

Charlie Bussey, executive director of Clemson's Letterman Association, was coached by McFadden and remembered him as someone easy to admire.

"Everybody held him in awe, even in his later days," Bussey said.

Officials planned a moment of silence for McFadden before Clemson played College of Charleston in the NCAA baseball tournament on Saturday night.

McFadden was a standout at Clemson in football, basketball and track. He helped the Tigers win the Southern Conference basketball tournament title in 1939, still the only postseason crown for men's basketball in school history.

In football, McFadden led Clemson to a 9-1 record in 1939 and the school's first bowl bid, a 6-3 victory over Boston College in the 1940 Cotton Bowl. McFadden's feat of 22 punts of at least 50 yards during the 1939 season still stands as a school record.

In 1959, McFadden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

McFadden coached defensive backs for Howard in 1941 and, after four years in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, from 1946-49.

McFadden became freshman football coach at Clemson for five years before returning to coach defensive backs in 1955, a position he held until Howard retired in 1969.

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said McFadden was always supportive of the football program. When Bowden first got the Tigers job before the 1999 season, he talked with his father, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, who remembered McFadden as one of his era's greatest football players.

"He was very excited that I had an opportunity to meet him," the younger Bowden said.

McFadden also coached track and was head men's basketball coach for 10 years.

After retiring from coaching football, McFadden directed the school's intramural department for the next 15 years.

He was a "wonderful gentleman who had such a significant impact on Clemson University for a long period of time," Bowden said.

McFadden was a charter member of the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. He'd had his basketball number, 23, and football number, 66, retired by Clemson.

McFadden was married to the former Angie Rigsby for 55 years until her death in 2001. The couple had four daughters -- Lil, Patsy, Marcia and Jan.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been completed, the school said.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press