Clemson Softball: Built From Scratch
Editor’s Note: Some of the best things, especially when it’s from the kitchen are made from scratch. Life is a lot like that, too. It becomes truly special when you find a special ingredient and you throw in some love. The story of how Clemson softball mixes together all of these elements has ‘memorable’ written all over it.
Special from ESPNW – Kaila Burns-Heffner
Logan Caymol watched longingly as her older teammates — all smiles, balloons and caps — signed national letters of intent to play softball at their dream schools.
Caymol had already written that possibility off. Not the signing part. She was one of the top pitchers in the country at Georgia’s Buford High School, so that part was pretty much guaranteed. It was the part about signing with her dream school that Caymol didn’t think could come true.
A third-generation Clemson fan, Caymol had been visiting the university ever since she could remember. Her parents, Angie and Mateo, met while attending Clemson. Her grandfather, Billy Ammons, played quarterback for famed head coach Frank Howard in the 1960s. More recently, the Clemson family was there for her immediate family, providing support through devastating times.
But there was no softball program at Clemson, so Caymol, as a high school freshman in 2014, committed to play at Tennessee. Her blood ran orange after all, just a few shades deeper.
Build It And They Will Come
Then, an announcement last March from Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich got that orange blood pumping. The Tigers would be adding a softball program that would begin its first season in the 2019-20 academic year.
“When they announced their program, I got really excited,” Caymol said. “But I knew that de-committing [from Tennessee] would be really hard.”
That September, the family flew to Tennessee to discuss Caymol’s future. Co-head coaches Karen and Ralph Weekly understood Caymol’s decision and even offered to call Clemson on her behalf.
But word traveled fast, and when Radakovich found out, he promptly invited the family to campus for an unofficial visit on homecoming weekend.
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Kaila Burns-Heffner – A recent sports communication graduate of Clemson, Burns-Heffner is a production assistant at ESPN. She has a passion for telling the stories that go beyond just the field.
Her experience includes writing for The Clemson Insider and Sports Illustrated. It also includes video production at WSPA-TV and ESPNU.
While a student at the University she was involved with both the Department of Communication and Sports Communication. She received the 2017 Dean’s Award for Professional Engagement for her contributions.