When he worked and lived overseas, Clemson fan Earle Maxwell was known to fly home on occasion to see his beloved Tigers play football.
When he couldn’t do that, he would call a friend, who would put the receiver next to a radio so Maxwell could listen to the broadcast.
Suffice it to say that Maxwell won’t miss this Saturday’s big game as No. 3 Clemson plays host to No. 5 Florida State.
“It’s exciting times,” said Maxwell, who is president of the Augusta Clemson Club.
Maxwell graduated from Clemson in 1962 with a degree in mechanical engineering. His career eventually took him overseas, but Maxwell wound up in the area as an executive with Perfection-Schwank Inc.
He had planned to retire near Clemson, but with his only son living in Augusta, Maxwell and his wife decided to make Martinez their retirement home.
“Instead of being here two or three years we’ve been here 16,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell has been regularly attending Clemson games for the past half century, but he doesn’t make all the games. He is better known for his vast collection of Clemson memorabilia, including game programs, tickets, pennants and most anything associated with the school.
The highlight of the collection is the 859 programs, including one from every home game since the Tigers played Presbyterian in their first night game in 1942.
“It takes quite a place to store them,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell even has a 1903 program for Clemson’s game against North Carolina A&M, the forerunner to N.C. State. John Heisman was Clemson’s coach, and Maxwell has been told that it is the oldest Clemson football program to still exist.
When he isn’t collecting memorabilia, Maxwell is busy with the Clemson club. The group recently had a viewing party for the N.C. State game, and Maxwell said the club would meet early in 2014 and again in April.
Before this Saturday’s game, Maxwell said the 1988 Clemson-Florida State game is the biggest one he has ever attended. This time, Maxwell is hoping for a different result. Florida State pulled out a 24-21 victory when coach Bobby Bowden ran a trick play, the “puntrooskie,” that set up the winning field goal.
“I knew the ball wasn’t snapped over the punter’s head,” Maxwell said. “The guy who it was snapped to I thought was tackled. But it didn’t work out that way.
“The next thing I know there are people hollering ‘there’s a guy running down the sideline,’ ” he said. “Oh, that was disgusting.”