Video: Clemson AD Radakovich spent 5 years at LSU
If anyone can appreciate LSU’s success in 2019, it’s Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich.
Radakovich was LSU’s associate athletic director from 2001-06 under Skip Bertman and witnessed LSU’s first football national championship in 45 years in 2003.
Now, his current employer will face his former one for another national title – either the third in four years for Clemson or the first in 12 years for LSU.
“The biggest memory of 2003 was how crowded the lobby of the Marriott was during LSU’s entire stay,” said Radakovich. “The energy and enthusiasm was something I hadn’t seen in my administrative career.”
Radakovich had been on the job at Clemson just two months when the schools last met in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. Clemson, ranked 14th, rallied for 12 fourth-quarter points, including a last-second field goal, to defeat eighth-ranked LSU 25-24.
“If you talk to a number of folks from Clemson,” Radakovich said, “they’ll tell you that Dec. 31, 2012 … was something that really created an incredible belief within in the program. Recruits that would come within the next 3-4 years, that would be the basis for that 2016 championship.
“How Coach Swinney was able to take that moment, make it great for Clemson and utilize it on the recruiting trail, it’s that springboard that kind of moved us forward.”
One of those players would come from Louisiana – Clemson starting running back Travis Etienne of Jennings.
“Travis is a huge part of that, but we also have (linebacker) Isaiah Simmons from Kansas,” Radakovich said, adding that Clemson has been able to recruit more nationally in the wake of two national titles in three years.
The beat goes on in recruiting, with Swinney landing the No. 1 recruiting class in America for the Class of 2020.
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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…