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Clemson University’s 35-10 season opening win over North Texas most likely won’t go down as the Tigers’ biggest win of the 2010 football season, but what happened that day in Death Valley won’t soon be forgotten.
Shawn Crawford, a Van Wyck native and former Indian Land High School star athlete, joined elite Clemson sports company that afternoon as one of eight inductees into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame.
Most fans who have followed Crawford’s sparkling career knew it was just a matter of time before he received the coveted call to be enshrined with Clemson’s other athletic greats.
His crowning moment came in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The Americans, in the men’s 200-meter event, swept that race, with Justin Gatlin taking bronze, Bernard Williams earning silver and Crawford capturing gold.
Four years later, he placed fourth in the 200m, but was later awarded the silver medal after two runners who finished ahead of him were disqualified. Crawford displayed refreshing sportsmanship in this day and time, giving his silver medal to the original winner, Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles.
Clemson and Indian Land fans weren’t surprised by Crawford’s success. They had long known of his track prowess. Back at Indian Land High School, Crawford was also a standout in football and basketball.
Before achieving Olympic glory, Crawford was a decorated track athlete at Clemson from 1997-2000. Ironically, on the day of Crawford’s induction, a fellow inductee included the late Clemson legendary coach Bob Pollock. Crawford led the Tigers, then coached by Pollock, to three straight ACC indoor championships and a pair of ACC outdoor crowns.
In 2000, Crawford paced the Tigers to a sweep of the ACC indoor and outdoor championships and was selected as the ACC Indoor Most Valuable Performer for the second year in a row. He was also named the ACC Outdoor Most Valuable Performer for the second time in his career.
Crawford’s 12 All-ACC selections are the third-most in Clemson history. He was also a nine-time ACC champion in individual events, a school mark for individual titles.
He won his first NCAA Championship in 1998 in the 200m indoors. He then swept the indoor and outdoor 200m races in 2000, making him only the second Clemson athlete to win three NCAA track titles. He holds the record for Tiger-best 11-time All-American (four indoor, seven outdoor). In 2002, he was one part of 13 Clemson men’s track & field athletes chosen to the ACC 50-Year Anniversary team.
In regards to Clemson track and field, Crawford has done it all. His latest honor is most fitting because he’s among the Tigers’ greatest, where he truly belongs.
But it all started for Crawford in his senior year at Indian Land High when he won the 100m and 200m state titles.
Prior to the state Class A meet, Crawford was slated to receive a half scholarship in football and track to Presbyterian.
That all changed quickly when Crawford put himself in with the best that season.
Clemson won the recruiting battle and Crawford made the most of the chance, earning athletic honors across the nation and world and back to the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame.
Once again, Crawford, as he has so often done, has made us proud that he’s from this area.