By Madison Elliott
This past Saturday, September 18th, marked the 67th anniversary of the firing of a cannon after a Clemson touchdown during home games. Unbeknownst to many modern-day Tiger fans, this tradition was started by the ever-loyal Clemson alumnus, George Bennett, in 1954, and has since remained one of the many game time traditions that make up Clemson’s Death Valley.
Quite the visionary, Bennett was desirous to create a winning culture and community that students and fans alike would be able to interact with for years to come. A former head cheerleader at the university, he was a people-person through and through, and yearned to establish some notable traditions as he had seen other universities do. The idea of the legendary Clemson Cannon was born soon after.
Well, we’ll give some credit to his father, who gave George the idea after admiring the exciting addition to West Point football games in 1953. Since 1954, anytime a touchdown or field goal is scored, you’re sure to hear a cannon ring throughout Dear Old Clemson.
Decades later, George Bennett remains at the forefront of this famed tradition (and several others). Perhaps one of the founding fathers of deep Clemson tradition, Bennett also was the founder of the Tiger Paw stamped $2 bills. But that’s a story for another time.
In fact, people both near and far would’ve been able to hear the cannon to cue Clemson’s run down the hill at the Georgia Tech vs. Clemson football game this past weekend. The run down the hill goes hand in hand with the firing of the cannon; without one there lacks the sentimentality of the other. The ensemble is followed by “Tiger Rag” plus an eruption of cheers in the stands. It’s the ultimate experience, still as exhilarating today as it was in the mid-50’s.