Former Carson-Newman All-America linebacker and current defensive coordinator Mike Clowney will be inducted into the South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame Thursday during a ceremony at the Renaissance Hotel in Asheville, N.C.
“It means a lot,” Clowney said. “To go into a Hall of Fame occupied by my teammates and (head coach) Ken Sparks, those guys mean a lot to me as people. I wouldn’t be where I am today if Coach Sparks hadn’t taken a chance on a little linebacker from Union, S.C. who wasn’t big enough, fast enough, or really good enough.
“It’s meant a lot for me to be in this program that’s been beyond football and more about Clowney heads into SAC Hall of Fame life.”
“He’s very deserving,” the man who recruited and hired Clowney, head football coach Ken Sparks said. “He’s been a difference maker and impacted lives wherever he’s been. He’s an impact person for the Lord. He was a quality athlete here no doubt. But he was also one of the greatest leaders we ever had on the field.”
With Clowney’s induction, the Eagles will have 13 individuals in the SAC Hall of Fame, including five affiliated with the football program.
Clowney finished his career at Carson-Newman as one of the best linebackers in school history. He ranks sixth all time with 353 career stops and still holds the single-game tackle record. He had 23 stops against Wingate in 1996.
Clowney earned first-team All-America honors in 1996 from the AFCA, American Football Quarterly, the Associated Press, Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and the NCAA. With 153 tackles, he was named the South Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and led Carson-Newman to its first NCAA Division II National Championship game appearance during the 1996 campaign.
After his playing days at Carson-Newman, Clowney spent three seasons as head football coach and athletic director at Emerald High School in Greenwood, S.C. Clowney then went to Greenwood High School where he served as the defensive coordinator from 1999-2003. Under his tutelage, Greenwood won back-to-back South Carolina State Championships during 1999 and 2000.