Larry Williams of Tigerillustrated.com takes you inside the helmet and inside the press box (minus the free food) to deliver the stories behind the stories. No screaming. No hot takes. No picks. Just honest insight and informed conversation.
Last week, Gene Sapakoff announced he's leaving The Post and Courier after 38 years at the Charleston newspaper.
One of the strange elements of his departure: The leadership at the paper hasn't given him an opportunity to write a farewell column in the sports section that featured his mug shot since the 1980s.
Sapakoff joins The Dubcast to reflect on when and why he chose to hang it up, and what his next chapter looks like.
He also shares a wealth of anecdotes and memories of covering the biggest names in the Palmetto State's sports history.
He recalls getting cussed at by Danny Ford when he wrote a column labeling the coach the "Prince of Paranoia" in 1987.
And more recently, Sapakoff was publicly blasted by Shane Beamer at a press conference after he criticized Beamer's hire of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.
While it's natural for old-timers to lament the departure of this state's last prominent newspaper sports columnist, Sapakoff has an optimistic outlook on the present and future of sports coverage in South Carolina and beyond.
Grayson Mann and Toby Corriston
In many ways, the media and journalism industry has become almost totally disfigured over the past two decades.
Yet inside Clemson's Sports Communication program there are students who find a multitude of ways to distinguish themselves.
Grayson Mann is a senior who has spent his time at college starting his own podcast, writing for Tigerillustrated.com, doing video play-by-play for North Greenville basketball, and covering high school games for a local newspaper.
Toby Corriston is a freshman who has already developed quite a portfolio of photography, writing and stand-up video he does on his own after Clemson sporting events.
Where is the media industry heading? No one can predict that. But Mann and Corriston, who both serve as interns at Tigerillustrated.com, are positioning themselves to be marketable on a multitude of platforms post-graduation.
Mann and Corriston visit with The Dubcast to share how they got to this point, and what they aspire to do hereafter.
Paul Strelow, longtime recruiting reporter and analyst for Tigerillustrated.com, is also a family man and a father of five.
He's been fully devoted to the lives of his children over the years, and that's included serving as a coach of their various teams.
Strelow gives his perspective on the climate at youth and high school sporting events as fans get edgier and more willing to chastise not just refs but opposing players.
The state of the media industry is almost unrecognizable from the one Strelow joined as a newspaper reporter in the late 1990s. Where are things headed? What advice does he have for young people who might be interested in trying to join this industry?
And what of Clemson football recruiting, with the Tigers in play for an elite recruiting class in 2025? Will the people who eviscerate Dabo Swinney for being too stuck in his ways consider changing their tune?
Also, is Clemson's football program more active with NIL than is often perceived?
Finally, how confident is Strelow that Cade Klubnik can give Clemson what it needs at quarterback?
Mike Noonan, fresh off Clemson's second men's soccer national title in three years, joins The Dubcast to reflect on the journey.
In August of 2022, Noonan lost his father. And then this past November his mother passed away as Noonan and the Tigers were pursuing Clemson's fourth men's soccer national title in its history.
Noonan opens up about his upbringing, including his father's remarkable life that included:
Graduating from MIT and the Harvard Business School;
Working on the Apollo Space Project;
Modernizing Taiwan's rail system;
Playing a role in the merger of the AFL and NFL.
In addition, Mike's younger brother Mark is the commissioner of the Canadian Premier League.
Noonan reminisces about first hearing from Clemson when he was the head coach at Brown. He and his wife Deb fell in love with the campus and surrounding community on their first visit.
Noonan, who has believed in Dabo Swinney from the beginning, had a rough patch with the football coach when the building of the Tigers' opulent operations facility meant the displacement of Noonan's practice fields.
Swinney assured Noonan he and the soccer program would be much better off in the end, and when it came time to raise money for the new soccer facility Swinney lived up to his word.
"He was right," Noonan said.
Noonan also delves into his love of music, and spending time in the mid- to late-1980s watching Phish once a month in a club called Nectar's in Burlington, VT.
Noonan's wife spent college in the same dorm as Phish's members, one floor below.
Clemson will hold a parade Saturday at 11:30 AM to celebrate the soccer team's national title.
Billy Davis rejoins The Dubcast to share what it's like having a daughter on the verge of completing a student-athlete career as a swimmer at the University of Kentucky.
Davis, one of the few Clemson fans who was fully behind Dabo Swinney during a rough 2010 season, had his own doubts over the past year: He correctly predicted the Tigers would fall at Duke in the season-opener, and he was with many in wondering if Swinney would make necessary changes to his staff.
Davis, who had a long career in the Secret Service, recalls the brawl at the end of Clemson's win over South Carolina in 1983.
Probation meant that it was his last game in a Clemson uniform.
Davis said he didn't take part in the brawl. He used it as an opportunity to run to the other side of the field and visit his girlfriend, who was a Gamecock cheerleader.
Davis is a longtime subscriber to Tigerillustrated.com, and a frequent poster on the West End Zone message board.
Chris Low, longtime chronicler of college football for ESPN.com, joins The Dubcast to reflect on the recent monumental events at Alabama.
Low, who broke the news that Nick Saban was retiring, said he received a tip about two hours before Saban announced it to his team.
Low said Saban indicated to Alabama AD Greg Byrne late in the season that he was leaning toward retirement, but he wasn't certain of it until the morning that he actually announced it.
Though Alabama contacted Dabo Swinney to gauge his interest in the job, Low believes Washington's Kalen DeBoer and Florida State's Mike Norvell were the top two candidates on Byrne's list.
Low also gives his thoughts on the state of college football, which a growing number of people believe is unsustainable in its current form with NIL and the transfer portal creating fluid and unpredictable situations just about everywhere.
As Dabo says… “Larry Williams knows everything”. He’s also an incredible podcast host with great guests. Such a fun listen each week.
Conversation with Micky-a great learning opportunity
Fantastic discussion with Mickey. Respectful open debate is healthy, even among Clemson fans. Each side of the debate seems to have lost that respect in so many cases these days, regardless of topic. Thanks to you both for reminding us that’s important.
A must listen
Whether you are a Clemson fan, or just a fan of sports in general… Larry’s interviews are always informative and interesting. From insights on coaching, to the “how’d that happen” of college football alignment, there is never a boring conversation.