CLEMSON, SC (WCSC/WHNS) - Thousands of smiling, cheering football fans turned out for the biggest party Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has thrown yet at Death Valley to celebrate the school's first national championship in 35 years.
Gov. Nikki Haley issued a proclamation naming Saturday "Clemson Tigers National Football Championship Day."
Last year, more than 30,000 people showed up for Swinney's pizza party when Clemson was picked for its first College Football Playoff berth after the 2015 season. The gathering Saturday was expected to top that, with more than 50,000 fans expected along the parade route through town and into Memorial Stadium.
Gates at Memorial Stadium opened at 7 a.m., and fans in the stadium watched the parade from inside the stadium on the video boards.
The in-stadium celebration began at 10:30 a.m.
Clemson won the title with a 35-31 victory over defending national champ Alabama last Monday night. Deshaun Watson connected with Hunter Renfrow on a 2-yard TD pass with one second left.
Clemson last won the National Championship in 1981.