Alumni Profile: Andy Clawson, Class of '69

Andy Clawson

Andy Clawson is both a Distinguished Alumnus and a member of the Reddie Hall of Honor. Clawson is currently director for sports medicine at The Citadel.

Approaching his Golden Anniversary as a Reddie, Andy reveals where life has taken him and how Henderson shaped him and his career.

When did you graduate and what was your major?

I graduated in ‘69, and my major was in physical education, and my minor was biology.

I graduated a year later with my master’s.

Why did you choose Henderson?

I chose Henderson because my high school basketball coach Jim Atwell, who is also a graduate, recommended the school. I wanted to continue to work in the field of athletics. Coach Atwell was the gentleman who taught me how to tape an ankle. He contacted Coach Dyer who coached basketball there. The first two years I worked with basketball, and the last two years I also worked with football. He’s probably the real reason I ended up with a college degree.

Who were your best friends while attending Henderson, and are you still friends with them today?

I had so many. Obviously, my two roommates. We had almost identical class schedules after our second semester of our freshman year, Nicky Boyd and Lou Wood.

So many of the athletes: Hubert Langley, Danny Davis, Larry Ducksworth, Alvin Futrell, Lou (Nash) James, Buddy Jordan, Stan Parris, Reggie Speights, and Bobby Jones. I also knew Nancy Chaney, Patsy Thommason. Don Kingery, who died while serving in Vietnam, ran the snack counter, and I was in his wedding. I had so many friends it’s hard to just name some.

Who were your favorite professors?

Dr. Mickey O’Quinn, Dr. Holt, Dr. Brinkley in biology, Dr. Hughes, who taught in the history department, and Dr. Kelly in the biology department.

How did Henderson prepare you for your career?

Obviously, academically. When I was in school, they didn’t have the curriculum for athletic training when I was there. That is why I was physical education and biology. Sports medicine was just getting started in the 1960s. Dr. Lewis Tilley and I would get together on Sunday afternoons. We’d go to his house, spread out the books. It was such a broad experience. There may not be a better person who worked in athletics than Coach Wells. He was the Salt of the Earth. I was around Coach Wells, Sporty Carpenter, and Coach Dyer as a young athletic trainer. They had successful careers and were good people. It was just the whole broad experience. Being able to be so involved is what helped more than anything. I tell everyone I graduated from the Harvard of the South at Henderson. You get to know so many people and interact with them. It was a good place to be at the right time.

What is your favorite memory of Henderson?

Beating Ouachita! We beat them by 50 points in the old Armory. Those experiences, the ice storms we had, and from having so many other fond memories of having a great time that it’s hard to nail down one. I was raised in South Arkansas and can remember vividly driving back and forth from Arkadelphia to El Dorado through the back roads.

When’s the last time you have been on the Henderson campus?

2016 when I came back for the Arkansas Athletic Trainer Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, I’m still working and it’s difficult to get away.

What other job do you think you’d be really good at?

Believe it or not, if I hadn’t done this course, I would have most likely ended up being a funeral director if I had stayed in South Arkansas. I started in high school working at the mortuary in El Dorado. I made so much money I almost didn’t come back to school between my sophomore and junior year. It’s 180 degrees from what I do now.

How do you relax after a hard day of work?

I enjoy my home with my wife Mary, and my son Drew is out of the house. We have two cats. I love cooking on my grill and working on my yard.

Who do you admire the most, and why?

Coach Wells because he had such high character. Other than that would be my dad. He was such a hard working guy. He owned a hardware store in El Dorado. He was hard working, didn’t have a lot to say, and you didn’t mess with him. He always make sure you were taken care of.

What is the best day of your life?

The best and exciting day is when my son, Drew, was born.

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?

I don’t assume anything because that’s when you make the biggest mistakes.

What are three interesting facts about you?

  1. I’m half full versus half empty.

  2. It’s very important to do the mundane routine because if you don’t do that something extraordinary will never happen.

  3. I enjoy people, but I don’t talk to strangers real well. I don’t do small talk real well

If your life was a book, what would its title be?

Amazing Journey

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what would it be?

Tell the truth! The truth is not always politically correct, not always tasteful, not always pretty, but it’s always the truth.