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Dabo Swinney and Clemson have been a match made in heaven.
Few coaches in college football history have meant more to a program while delivering the results needed to continue making a place like Clemson special. Love him or hate him, Swinney is doing what he loves and where he loves to do it.
Swinney made an appearance on the ACC Network at the ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte on Wednesday, sitting down with Mark Packer, Kelsey Riggs, and Eddie Royal, where he spoke about what it means to be back at Clemson for another season and how unique this group is.
Clemson has been home to Swinney for nearly two decades, with his family becoming a part of the culture.
“It’s great to be back,” Swinney said. “It means that I still have a job. It’s a blessing; it really is. It’s my fourteenth-year full time, but it’s my twentieth season overall at Clemson, which is crazy. It’s crazy; I came to Clemson in 03,’, I thought I’d be there a year or two, and now I’m going into my twentieth season.”
“It’s been a blessing. I’ve raised three boys there, and my youngest son Clay just moved into Clemson a couple of weeks ago. We had a four-year-old, and a three-year-old, and Clay was born there. Now they’re all out of the house just like that blink of the eye.”
What Swinney expected to be a short stop in his football journey developed into a home for him and his family. Clemson has embraced Swinney as he’s delivered time and time again for the program and the community.
Clemson’s team has been elite on and off the field, which is part of what makes Swinney so special during this era.
“When you’re having fun, and you love where you are and who you’re with, time flies,” Swinney said. “I love what I do, and it’s been a blast and a lot of fun to build it. Eleven ten-win seasons in a row, and 98% of our guys have graduated. Being one of the top academic football programs in the country. Being the only school in the last ten years to be both top 25 in football and academics.”
“I’m just really proud of the people of Clemson, the staff that I’ve had throughout my time here, but most importantly the players who have come through Clemson.”
A head coach who looks beyond just the scoreboard, Swinney takes pride in his ability as a teacher. Winning is great, but helping a kid develop into a great player and a man is what Swinney relishes the most.
Swinney wants to put his players in the best position possible to succeed in life. Taking a look at the team heading into the 2022 season, regardless of what results came from the prior season, Swinney believes this group is special like no other he has had before.
“This group coming up is special; they’ve set the tone, Swinney said. “They already differentiated themselves from every other team I’ve had because they had the highest team GPA in Clemson history. We had 109 guys go through spring, and all of them stayed. It’s a veteran group, and we’ve got a lot of veteran leadership. Our best players are our hardest workers and our best leaders. I love that aspect of this team.”
Results are results in Swinney’s eyes; he’s just looking for different results than what the media and fans expect. It is possible to be a football guy through and through with the result on the scoreboard not being priority number one. From his perspective, this group fits the mold he’s looking for as a coach and a teacher.
Out of all of the places a guy like Dabo Swinney could have landed in life, a Clemson could not have worked out better. Swinney is blessed with a place that allows him to devote himself to his calling in life.
“This is my purpose; this is my faith,” Swinney said. “This is what God called me to do. Glorify him, be a great husband and father and build great men through the game of football.”