Swinney running down the hill before a game in 2008.
November 20, 1969 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
Clemson (Asst HC/WR)
|Head coaching record|
College Football Data Warehouse
|Accomplishments and honors|
Bobby Dodd COY (2011)
Swinney was raised in Helena, Alabama, and attended the University of Alabama, where he joined the Crimson Tide football program as a walk-on wide receiver in 1989. He 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, Swinney was twice named an Academic All-SEC and SEC Scholar Athlete Honor Roll member. He received his degree in commerce & business administration in 1993 as well as a master's degree in business administration from Alabama in 1995.
In December 1995 he received his M.B.A from Alabama and became a full-time coach for 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.
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.
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.
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. 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. Swinney was surprised by his promotion since he had been a real estate developer just a few years before; at the time he was informed he was working with the wide receivers on their upcoming game.
With a reputation as a top-notch recruiter, 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). 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. On November 1, 2008, Swinney claimed his first victory as the Tigers' head coach by defeating Boston College, breaking Clemson's six-game losing streak 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. After a vote of confidence from athletic director Terry Don Phillips, Swinney was formally named as Clemson's 27th head coach on December 1, 2008.
Swinney's recruiting reputation became evident when he produced five top-20 ESPN recruiting classes in a row, including top 10 classes in 2011 and 2012. As a result, Clemson is one of only 10 schools to be ranked in the top 20 of recruiting five years in a row (along with LSU, Alabama, Texas, USC, Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Ohio State and Oklahoma), and Swinney is one of only five active head coaches to ever accomplish the feat, putting him on par with prestigious names such as Nick Saban, Les Miles, Bob Stoops, and Mark Richt.
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.
In 2010, Swinney led Clemson to a 6–7 season. Of the 7 losses, 6 were by less than 10 points and 5 were by 6 points or less.
In 2011, Swinney led the Tigers to an 10–3 record that included an ACC Championship, the Tigers' first since 1991. They earned a trip to the Orange Bowl, their first major-bowl appearance since the 1981 national championship season. During a pre-game ESPN interview prior to the 2012 Orange Bowl, Swinney said, "Hopefully when this thing is over, people are going to be talking about the Clemson defense." The comment proved to be prescient as #15 Clemson would go on to lose to the #23 West Virginia Mountaineers, 70–33, conceding an all-time record number of points scored in a quarter (35), half (49) and game (70) in the 109-year history of bowl games. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was fired after the game.
Part of Swinney's success the past three years was the 2011 offensive coordinator hire of Chad Morris, who was originally seen as a risk as most of his coaching experience had been on the high school level. Morris brought in a fast-paced, up-tempo offense that shattered many Clemson offensive records.  Since then, Clemson's offense has averaged over 40 points a game and over 500 yards of total offense a game.
Swinney was the 2011 winner of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, which was established to honor the NCAA Division 1 football coach whose team excels on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. The award is named for Bobby Dodd, longtime head football coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The award was established in 1976 to honor the values that Dodd exemplified.
In 2012, Swinney led Clemson to its first 11-win season since the 1981 national championship year, capping the year off with an upset victory over the #8 LSU Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Tigers finished the year at 11-2, ranked 9th in the Coaches Poll and 11th in the AP poll. Swinney was a finalist for the third time in his career for the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year.
In 2013, Swinney guided the Tigers to their third 10-win season in a row, the first time since 1989. The highlight regular-season win came against #5 Georgia in the season opener. The Tigers won 38-35. Clemson's two regular season losses were to top 10 opponents, national champion Florida State and South Carolina. The 31-17 loss to the rival Gamecocks was a record fifth straight for the Tigers, the longest winning streak for South Carolina in the series. The completion of the season marked 32 wins over three years for Swinney, the most ever in such a span in Clemson football history. The Tigers received their second BCS bowl bid under Swinney with an invitation to play seventh-ranked Ohio State in the 2014 Orange Bowl. The Tigers defeated the Buckeyes 40-35 to give the Tigers' their third Orange Bowl win in their history and their first BCS bowl victory. The 2013 season marked the first time Clemson had back-to-back 11-win seasons. After the game, Swinney recalled the Tigers' lopsided loss two years before in the Orange Bowl and the team's journey since then. "Hey, listen: Two years ago we got our butts kicked on this field. And it has been a journey to get back. We're 22-4 since that night. And we are the first team from the state of South Carolina to ever win a BCS game," Swinney said. The win was Swinney's fourth victory over a top ten opponent as a head coach. The Tigers finished the season ranked in the top 10 in both polls (#8 in AP, #7 in Coaches), the first such achievement for Swinney as head coach.
Following the season, Swinney agreed to eight-year, $27.15 million contract and guaranteed if Swinney was fired in the next three years.
Swinney's nickname was given to him as an infant by his parents when his then-18-month-old brother would try to enunciate "that boy" when referring to Swinney. He married the former Kathleen Bassett in 1994 and has three sons.
Head coaching record
|Clemson Tigers (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2008–present)|
|2008||Clemson||4–3[A 1]||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||10–4||6–2||1st (Atlantic)||L Orange†||22||22|
|2012||Clemson||11–2||7–1||T–1st (Atlantic)||W Chick-fil-A||9||11|
|2013||Clemson||11–2||7–1||2nd (Atlantic)||W Orange†||7||8|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|†Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- Took over midseason from Tommy Bowden, who resigned on October 13, 2008
- Clemson University Athletic Department, Dabo Swinney Biography
- Jon Solomon, Former Alabama player, assistant Dabo Swinney will face beloved Tide on Saturday, The Birmingham News, August 27, 2008, Accessed October 13, 2008.
- Clemson's Bowden steps down, Associated Press, October 13, 2008, Accessed October 14, 2008. .
- Mark Schlabach, Bowden ousted at Clemson; coach 'deserved' to be fired, QB says, ESPN.com, October 13, 2008, Accessed October 13, 2008.
- Heather Dinich, Swinney ready to move forward at 'full speed', ESPN.com, October 14, 2008, Accessed October 14, 2008.
- Heather Dinich, Clemson turns to Swinney for remainder of season, ESPN.com, October 13, 2008, Accessed October 13, 2008.
- Interim Clemson boss Swinney introduces 'Tiger Walk', Associated Press, October 16, 2008, Accessed October 17, 2008.
- "Clemson promotes interim coach Swinney to permanent job with 5-year deal". Associated Press. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
- "Dabo Swinney Named Clemson Head Coach". thetigernet.com. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
- Chick-fil-A Bowl 2012: Les Miles and Dabo Swinney's 5 Best Presser Moments
- "West Virginia routs Clemson in record-setting Orange Bowl". ESPN. Associated Press. 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
- Dinich, Heather (2012-01-12). "Kevin Steele out at Clemson". ESPN. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
- "Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation - Past Winners". Bobby Dodd Foundation. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- South Carolina makes it five in a row against Clemson
- "Clemson, coach Dabo Swinney agree on eight-year, $27.15 million contract." SportsIllustrated.com. Retrieved 2014-Jan-18.
- Paul Strelow, Family Tides break upon Clemson coach, TheState.com, August 20, 2008, Accessed October 12, 2008.
- Fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha. http://www.pikes.org/NewsAndMedia.aspx?mode=mpage&pid=9. Missing or empty
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dabo Swinney.|