January 2, 2020
Not Saving the Best for Last!
Usually we like to conclude your Carolina-Canada Connections newsletter with a little Clemson football happy talk, but this is just too good to wait!
So, can you say “Threepeat?”
That’s what David Wilkins and rabid Clemson University football fans across the fruited plain are praying for come January 13 when once again, Clemson football plays for the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
Yep, “little ‘ol Clemson” as head coach Dabo Swinney likes to characterize his powerhouse team, is looking at capturing a third natty.
The Tigers sealed their golden opportunity Saturday, December 28 when Clemson made its fifth appearance in five College Football Playoff appearances under Swinney, this time against what was up until that night, the also undefeated and extremely hard-hitting Ohio State Buckeyes.
The game had both Buckeye and Clemson fans alternately cheering and wanting to be sick for the better part of four hours as either team could have easily won. And truth be told, for much of the first half, it felt like Ohio State might even run away with it before Clemson, led by its star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, kicked it into high gear. The final score was decided in the final seconds with Ohio State mounting a fierce charge down field thwarted by a game ending Tiger interception in the Buckeye end zone that left the score at 29-23 and fans on both sides gasping for air.
As ESPN summed up (not overdramatically): “…to be sure, Clemson's 29-23 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State, which sent the Tigers to the College Football Playoff National Championship for the fourth time in five seasons, was an outright classic, a grueling battle of attrition, comebacks, overturned replays and late-game regrets.”
David Wilkins chats with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney before the final practice out in Arizona, December 27, 2019.
David and Susan Wilkins are joined by their son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Stephanie, and the wondertwins, Whit and Clary at the big Clemson-Ohio State playoff game.
And just because Wilkins likes to brag a bit when it comes to Clemson football, the team now has a 29-game winning streak. Its starting quarterback, the aforementioned Trevor Lawrence, a sophomore, is 24-0 as a college starter, including that tiny little (read: epic!!!!) 44-16 slap down of Alabama delivered last year that makes Clemson the reining national champs headed into this year’s matchup.
Dabo’s squad also made history by winning the ACC division championship for a record fifth-straight season. The Tigers also made FBS history by becoming the first team to win five straight conference title games.
It’ll be a Tiger takedown on January 13 in New Orleans for the national championship. The Clemson Tigers take on the Louisiana State University Tigers featuring Heisman Trophy winner QB Joe Burrow who is one cool cucumber. All Tigers will have to claw their way to a win, with no real weak links on either squad and two NFL-bound signal callers in Burrow and Lawrence. It’s sure to be a battle for the ages.
If the correct species of Tigers win, y’all will read all about it here.
Welcome to Winter
It was a busy year end for your former US ambassador to Canada who seemed to be spending most of his time flying across North America (read: business as usual) as he wrapped up the final months of 2019.
Mid November found Wilkins flying officially into winter with a trip to Toronto. With the blustery weather, he was even more delighted to receive such a warm welcome from Ian Russell and his team at the Investment Industry Association of Canada.
David Wilkins joins Ian Russell and the IIAC team in Toronto.
Wilkins was there to talk politics and policy in the wake of the recent Canadian election and next year’s US election. Needless to say, there was no shortage of topics!
Welcome to Washington
It was back to Washington, DC, the following week, and a meeting of the Bush Center’s Mixed Working Group on Competitiveness, Security, and Migration.
Normally held at the George W. Bush Library in Dallas, Texas, it was an honor to welcome the working group to Nelson Mullins DC office at 101 Constitution Office which offers one of the best views in the city overlooking Capitol Hill.
David Wilkins gets ready to lead a Bush Center panel in November at our Nelson Mullins office.
The Bush Center working group is comprised of policy, business, thought and governmental leaders hailing from North America and dedicated to tackling critical and timely trilateral issues that foster innovation, productivity, and competitiveness in the global marketplace.
It was wonderful to see so many friends including Matt Rooney, Theresa Brown, Laura Collins, Carlos Dade, Dan Fisk and others.
Welcome Wilkins to the Hall of Fame
“You can’t go home” or so goes the expression. But sometimes you can, and so it was that David Wilkins’ hometown school district, Greenville County Schools, placed him in its official Hall of Fame late last year.
In front of family and friends, Wilkins received the prestigious recognition at the Greenville Convention Center. Wilkins youngest son, Robert, and longtime friend, South Carolina Supreme Court Justice John W. Kittredge offered testimonials on his behalf.
The Wilkins family has a long and lasting connection to Greenville County public schools. Wilkins himself attended from start to finish, followed by sons James and Robert. Susan started out as a teacher and would become a PTA president several times as their sons made their way through the school system. And now the Wilkins grandchildren are attending the very same schools.
They Said What?
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