Jonathan Byrd and Susan Hill-Whitson will be inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor on November 12, 2011. The ceremony will take place at halftime of the Clemson vs. Wake Forest football game at Memorial Stadium.
Byrd was an All-American on the course and in the classroom for the Tigers golf team between 1997-2000, while Hill-Whitson is the only four-time ACC MVP in ACC women’s tennis history. She led the Tigers to national prominence between 1977-81.
The Ring of Honor is the highest honor awarded by the Clemson Athletic Department. A candidate must be a member of the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame, be a graduate of a four-year institution, and have made a significant impact on the heritage of Clemson athletics. Byrd became the first four-time first-team All-ACC golfer in Clemson history when he was named to the teams of 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000. He was an honorable mention All-American in 1998, a first-team selection in 1999 and third team in 2000.
He was also a two-time Academic All-American (1999 and 2000) and is one of two student-athletes in school history to be named an academic All-American and on the field of competition All-American in school history, twice. He also represented the United States in the Walker Cup matches in 1999 and was on the United States Palmer Cup team in 1999 and 2000.
Byrd was ranked as the sixth best player in the nation by the Sagarin computer rankings in 1999 and was rated 14th as a senior. He finished his career with 30 rounds in the 60s and 26 top 10 finishes, both still second best in school history.
The native of Columbia, SC is still the only two-time selection as Clemson’s IPTAY Athlete of the Year and was named to the ACC 50-Year Anniversary team in 2002. He was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
Clemson excelled as a team during Byrd’s four years. The Tigers finished in the top eight in the nation all four years, including third-place in 1997 and second-place in 1998. The Tigers were ranked in the top five in the nation for 56 consecutive polls during his career.
Now in his 10th year on the PGA Tour, Byrd is a five-time PGA Tour winner, more than any other former Clemson golfer. He won the Justin Timberlake Invitational at the end of the 2010 season with a hole-in-one on a playoff hole, the first time that has happened in the history of the PGA Tour. He is competing in the Tour Championship in Atlanta this weekend as one of the top 30 golfers on the PGA Tour.
Byrd and his wife Amanda have two children and reside in Sea Island, GA.
Hill-Whitson is the only four-time ACC MVP in a women’s sport in Clemson history and one of just two in all sports in Clemson history. Thirty years after she played her last match, she is still the only four-time ACC MVP women’s tennis history, and is one of just two tennis players to win the number-one singles league title four years in a row
Hill-Whitson was named to the ACC 50-year Anniversary team in 2002 and was named one of Clemson’s top 20 student-athletes of the 20th century by The State newspaper. She also holds the distinction of being the first women’s athlete to be inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame.
The native of Tennessee was a three-time first-team All-American and had a 126-20 record over her career. That .863 winning percentage is still the best in Clemson history. She won 82 percent of her sets (261-57), also the best in school history. Hill-Whitson had an incredible 40-3 record as a junior during the 1979-80 academic year. She was 33-5 as a freshman, 23-3 as a sophomore and 30-9 as a senior in singles matches.
In her final match at Clemson, Hill-Whitson defeated Kathryn Kyle of UCLA who had never lost a match in her college career for the Bruins.
As a team, Clemson finished 13th in the nation in 1978, 12th in 1980 and ninth in 1981. The team played in the AIAW National Tournament (organization for women’s sports before the NCAA) in three of her four years. The Lady Tigers were 17-1 in regular season ACC play and the team was 83-26 overall.
In addition to her induction to the Clemson Hall of Fame in 1986, Hill-Whitson was inducted into the Tennessee Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009.
Hill-Whitson and her husband John, also a Clemson graduate, have five children, two of whom are Clemson graduates and another is currently a Clemson student.