Clemson hosted Boston College on Saturday. The game marked Clemson's eighth of the season, extended the program's record winning streak to 23 straight, and it marked offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell's 500th as a college football coach.
Following his playing career, where, of course, he played center, Caldwell remained on at his alma mater, Furman, as the offensive line coach in 1978 and remained through 1985. He then took a job coaching NC State's offensive line in '86 and stayed through 1999.
Mike O'Cain was fired as the Wolfpack's head coach following the '99 season and, despite O'Cain's 0-7 record against North Carolina, the Tar Heels thought enough of NC State's offensive line that UNC head coach Carl Torbush hired Caldwell in 2000. Torbush himself was fired after the 2000 season, but Caldwell was retained by new head coach John Bunting in 2001.
Bobby Johnson, a colleague of Caldwell's back at Furman, got the Vanderbilt head job in 2002 and brought Caldwell with him to Nashville. Johnson retired in the summer of 2010, far too late to conduct a coaching search, and so the Vanderbilt administration turned to the most trusted member of Johnson's staff to serve as the interim head coach for that season. They turned to Caldwell.
Swept out by another coaching change in the winter of 2010, Caldwell was back on the free agent market once again. And once again, he did not last long.
On thin ice following a 6-7 season, Dabo Swinney was in the midst of retooling his offensive staff room at Clemson, and the veteran Caldwell was a natural fit to work with his young, new hires at offensive coordinator and running backs coach. The offensive coordinator was Chad Morris and the running backs coach was Tony Elliott. Things seem to have gone quite well since then.
Those who know him will you tell you Robbie Caldwell is one of the nicest, funniest, kindest and most honorable men you will meet. Tip of the cap to Coach Caldwell on this memorable event during his impressive career.
Longtime Clemson SID Tim Bourret reached out to all of the FBS football communications directors wondering if any other FBS coaches had coached in 500 games. The only other coach they came up with is Northwestern defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz who began coaching in 1973 and has coached in 566 games.