Under pressure, Tommy Bowden resigned as Clemson’s head coach after a humiliating loss to Wake Forest in the sixth game of the 2008 season. The then Athletic Director, Terry Don Phillips, looked at the remaining coaches on staff and selected Dabo Swinney to be the interim coach for the balance of the season. Tommy Bowden had recruited Dabo from Alabama in 2003 as the wide receivers coach. Since Dabo was from Alabama, had played at Alabama as well as being a coach there, it was a great move by Bowden in getting him. He was also known as a top recruiter and was made the Clemson recruiting coordinator.
In his first game as interim head coach, Clemson went to Boston College and picked up a big win, both for the players and the fans. It ended a six game losing streak to Boston College and Clemson received another big lift when we won the annual rivalry game against South Carolina. In December of 2008, Dabo was named the permanent head coach and he was off and running. His first full season in 2009 produced a record of 9-5, including a bowl game win. And that was just the beginning!
Under his leadership, Clemson has become established as a truly national power program. We went all the way to the national championship in 2015, losing to Alabama. It was a loss, but Clemson stood well against the established national power under Nick Saban in a final score of 45-40. Along the way, Clemson has won 4 ACC division titles and 2 ACC Championships. In 2015, Dabo was named the ACC Coach of the Year and the Associated Press Coach of the Year.
So, the standard has been set for the program. Dabo is a special person, both on and off the field. He is a great leader and highly respected by the coaches and players. He is a strong disciplinarian and known for “sitting” players for stepping out of line no matter the importance of the player in upcoming games.
The future is bright and Clemson fans have never been happier or more proud. We’re in another glory era. We all know that the future is uncertain and are thoroughly enjoying what we hope is a long term change in the program. Great fan appreciation goes to Dabo and all the coaches and players! You’ve made the wait well worth it!Joe Parks, Realtorparksjoe6@gmail.com
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