Dabo Swinney ‘would have been long gone’ if he ran the Clemson football program the way some want

No matter how you break things down, the Clemson football program has experienced its best years with Dabo Swinney as the team’s head coach. 

Swinney does things differently than others, but it is difficult for someone to argue against what he has been able to do with the Tigers. Two national championships are a big deal, and Swinney is a major contributor to that success. 

On Monday night, Swinney was again asked about his approach to the transfer portal on the head coaches’ radio show. Instead of being questioned about his limited use of the portal, he was praised for it. 

“Listen, man, we got a lot of winning still ahead,” Swinney said to the caller. “We had the third-winningest decade in the history of college football last decade, and we are ahead of pace to that decade. We are not going anywhere. We are going to win a lot of games.”

“Now again, if we are only going to be happy when we win a national championship, a lot of people are going to miss a lot of fun,” Swinney said. “We have won three in 128 years. We compete, and we have to create consistency, and we have to have the right things, and then you have to be convicted in who you are.”

It’s not that Swinney and the Tigers don’t consider the portal. When it comes down to it, Swinney and his staff trust the players they have recruited and typically prefer the guys on their roster than they see in the portal.

“People talk about this portal all the time. I am not; do I prefer the portal? No, but am I opposed to it? No, absolutely not,” Swinney said. “There is not ever a spot that comes open on our roster over the past year or so where we have not said do we take a portal guy and everybody in the room to this point outside of a couple of occasions. That’s another point; there have been two or three really great ones that we thought would help us, but guess what? They have to love you too. Just because you want them does not mean they want you. And then other guys we have evaluated, we like the guys we have here. We have conviction.”

Some don’t realize that while Swinney and the Tigers hear what people are saying, it won’t change how he and his staff run the Clemson program. If Swinney listened to what everyone had to say, he and this program would not be in the place they are today.

“There is always going to be criticism, especially when you have success, which is good because people care. That is fine,” Swinney said. “But we are not sitting here today. I would have been long gone a long time ago if I ran this program the way everybody else wanted me to run it. I wouldn’t be sitting here. At the end of the day, you have to have conviction in what you believe as a leader. And understand some people are going to like you and some people are not going to like you. Some people are going to believe in what you want to do, and some people aren’t. That just comes with it. But at the end of the day, you have to do things the way you believe.”

I understand fan frustration with the way things have gone at Clemson over the past few seasons, but Swinney has valid points. Change is necessary sometimes, but what the national championship head coach and his staff are seeing also matters. 

I do believe some change is necessary for Clemson to remain among the elite programs, but I trust Swinney will make the right calls. 

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire