Dabo Swinney

Dabo Swinney
Dabo Swinney
Swinney running down the hill before a game in 2008.
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Clemson
Conference ACC
Record 28–17
Biographical details
Born November 20, 1969 (1969-11-20) (age 42)
Place of birth Birmingham, Alabama
Playing career
1990–1992 Alabama
Position(s) Wide receiver
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Alabama (GA)
Alabama (WR/TE)
Clemson (Asst HC/WR)
Head coaching record
Overall 28–17
Bowls 1–2
College Football Data Warehouse

William Christopher "Dabo" Swinney (born November 20, 1969) is the head coach of the Clemson University Tigers football team; he was previously assistant head coach and wide receivers coach.


Playing career

Swinney was raised in Pelham, Alabama, and attended the University of Alabama, where he joined the Crimson Tide football program as a walk-on wide receiver in 1989. Swinney earned a scholarship and lettered on three teams (1990–1992), including the Crimson Tide's 1992 National Championship team. During his time as an undergraduate at Alabama, he was twice named an Academic All-SEC and SEC Scholar Athlete Honor Roll member. He received his degree in commerce & business administration in 1993. He also received a master's degree in business administration from Alabama in 1995.

Coaching career


After graduation, Swinney joined the Alabama coaching staff as a graduate assistant, serving from 1993–1995. In December 1995 he received his M.B.A from Alabama and became a full-time coach of the Crimson Tide, in charge of wide receivers and tight ends. He was fired with all of head coach Mike DuBose's staff in early 2001.[1]

Swinney sat out the 2001 season while receiving his contractual payments from Alabama. His former strength coach at Alabama, Rich Wingo, had become president of Birmingham-based AIG Baker Real Estate and offered him a job. From April 2001 through February 2003, he did not coach and instead worked for AIG Baker Real Estate on development projects in Alabama.[1]


In 2002, his former position coach at Alabama, Tommy Bowden, made an offer for him to join his staff and coach wide receivers at Clemson, and Swinney joined in 2003. He took over as Recruiting Coordinator from popular longtime coordinator Rick Stockstill. Swinney proved to be both an excellent wide receivers coach as well as recruiting coordinator, coaching ACC-leading receivers and being named one of the nation's top 25 recruiters in 2007 by Rivals.com. In January 2007, he was approached by new Alabama head coach Nick Saban about rejoining the Crimson Tide, but Swinney opted to stay with the Tigers.[1]

Swinney was named the interim head football coach on October 13, 2008, after previous head coach Tommy Bowden resigned six games into the 2008 season.[2] The Tigers had started the year ranked #9 in the preseason polls, but then went 3–3 (1–2 ACC) in their first six games.[3] Swinney was surprised by his promotion; at the time he was informed he was working with the wide receivers on their upcoming game.[4]

With a reputation as a top-notch recruiter enjoying a good rapport with both boosters and the media, Swinney was chosen over Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, former head coach of Wyoming, and associate head coach Brad Scott, former head coach of South Carolina.[5] Swinney's first actions as interim head coach were to fire offensive coordinator Rob Spence and introduce a new tradition, the "Tiger Walk", where all players and coaches walk through the parking lot outside Memorial Stadium about two hours before a game as they head inside for final game preparations.[6] On November 1, 2008, Swinney claimed his first victory as the Tigers' head coach by defeating Boston College, breaking Clemson's 50 year winless streak (totaling 6 games over that span of years) against the Eagles. On November 29, 2008, Swinney coached Clemson to a 31-14 win over South Carolina in the annual rivalry game, after which Clemson became bowl eligible, and the Swinney's interim status was removed. During the 2009 season, Swinney's first full season at the helm, Clemson finished the season with a record of 9-5, won the Atlantic Division title of the Atlantic Coast Conference, defeated Kentucky 21-13 in the 2009 Music City Bowl, and finished the season ranked in the top 25. On December 1, 2008, Swinney received a five-year contract to become Clemson's full-time head coach.[7][8]

In 2010, Swinney came under fire after leading Clemson to a 6-7 season, including a second consecutive loss to rival South Carolina, 29-7 in the home finale at Death Valley. The Tigers followed that performance with a loss to South Florida in the 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl.


Swinney's nickname was given to him as an infant by his parents when his then-15-month-old brother would try to enunciate "that boy" when referring to Swinney.[9] He married the former Kathleen Bassett in 1994 and has three sons.

Swinney's desk at Clemson features a sign that notes "There is nothing less important than the score at halftime."[4] While in college at the University of Alabama, Swinney was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Clemson Tigers (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2008–present)
2008 Clemson 4–3* 3–2 T–3rd (Atlantic) L Gator
2009 Clemson 9–5 6–2 1st (Atlantic) W Music City 24
2010 Clemson 6–7 4–4 T–4th (Atlantic) L Meineke Car Care
2011 Clemson 9–2 6–2 1st (Atlantic)
Clemson: 28–17 19–10
Total: 28–17
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
  • – Took over midseason from Tommy Bowden, who resigned on Oct. 13, 2008.


  1. ^ a b c Jon Solomon, Former Alabama player, assistant Dabo Swinney will face beloved Tide on Saturday, The Birmingham News, August 27, 2008, Accessed October 13, 2008.
  2. ^ Clemson's Bowden steps down, Associated Press, October 13, 2008, Accessed October 14, 2008. .
  3. ^ Mark Schlabach, Bowden ousted at Clemson; coach 'deserved' to be fired, QB says, ESPN.com, October 13, 2008, Accessed October 13, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Heather Dinich, Swinney ready to move forward at 'full speed', ESPN.com, October 14, 2008, Accessed October 14, 2008.
  5. ^ Heather Dinich, Clemson turns to Swinney for remainder of season, ESPN.com, October 13, 2008, Accessed October 13, 2008.
  6. ^ Interim Clemson boss Swinney introduces 'Tiger Walk', Associated Press, October 16, 2008, Accessed October 17, 2008.
  7. ^ "Clemson promotes interim coach Swinney to permanent job with 5-year deal". Associated Press. 2008-12-01. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3737689. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  8. ^ "Dabo Swinney Named Clemson Head Coach". thetigernet.com. 2008-12-01. http://www.thetigernet.com/view/story.do?id=7609. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  9. ^ Paul Strelow, Family Tides break upon Clemson coach, TheState.com, August 20, 2008, Accessed October 14, 2008.

External links

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