Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, even excluding his on the field success, is quite a remarkable man.
The program he has built has been and yes, still is, among the best that’s ever been. It’s a football program that fans can be proud of. This doesn’t change because of a mediocre season, this program is built to last.
As a whole, Clemson fans are awesome but like all fans, some can be just a tad fickle. It’s okay, that’s the nature of fandom but even those that are disillusioned by this 2021 season can’t possibly think this man doesn’t see the real truth. He’s too smart and savvy.
He is universally respected by his peers (except maybe Dave Doeren) and by all that know his story. In Swinney, Clemson has a jewel. He’s passionate, a man of faith, he’s funny and he’s human. He is loyal, he’s honest and he’s a realistic dreamer. This entire, homemade success story wasn’t built in a day nor will it crumble in a day. It doesn’t work that way.
He’s one of those people that everyone feels is an intimate, close personal friend. A buddy that you could sit down and have a wonderful conversation on about any subject and come away inspired and more impressed than when you sat down. He’s a hero to many.
The hero business is precarious, however. Fans place their homegrown heroes on a pedestal when things are going great and in the bad times, some try to knock them off their lofty perch. For some misguided fans, gridiron heroes are worshipped, it comes with the territory. They seemingly transcend mortality to become god-like. Of all the heroes that crave such notoriety, no one would rebuke the idea of being worshipped more than Dabo Swinney.
As a man of a deep, abiding faith he lives it, not just talks it when it suits his needs. No, he’s the real deal but he would be the first to dismantle and be most uncomfortable with the entire idea of him as a cult figure. He’s just not like that.
His “aww shucks” manner screams leadership and all, on different levels, gladly follow. Why not? He’s done remarkable things with “little old Clemson” and it will continue. He is not, nor would he ever want to be above reproach.
As much as a hero can be, he’s humble yet supremely confident. Sure, in private, he’s probably more distressed than anyone of the season. His expectations are higher than anyone’s and his goals and that of his program are more that a won loss record.
As fans, we tend to look at the players as football machines there to methodically preform, not Swinney. He looks through the mechanics and sees their hearts and souls. He deeply cares about them and it shows, they’re his boys. He has pledged to build men of character and he’s succeeded, wildly.
As my Grandmother used to say with Christian certainty, “this too shall pass,” and it will. It might get worse before it gets better, it might be more painful than those with short term memory loss would like but I suspect it’ll pass too.
This program, Swinney’s program, was built to weather storms just like 2021. Fans just have to trust and believe, not only in the process but in the man that built it. The reluctant yet adept hero, Dabo Swinney. Take heart Clemson, he’s got this and you’re lucky to have him.