It’s impossible to imagine Clemson Football without Dabo Swinney. The two are synonymous. Now, I personally doubt Dabo will leave anytime soon but after his comments during an interview yesterday, it caused me to think, what if?
In quintessential Dabo speak, he stated if Clemson loses this weekend to the University of Connecticut, Clemson “would have a new head coach.” Most understand that Dabo often speaks in hyperbolic terms to add a twist of humor to even the touchiest of subjects but many will admit, this remark, hyperbole or not, caught some off guard.
In October of 2008, unbeknownst to most, Clemson’s football future and fortunes met its destiny, Dabo Swinney. This vibrant, young, well loved and well respected wide receiver coach had been hand-picked by the outgoing coach. This fairly unknown former realtor had never been a coordinator, let alone a head coach and some thought the athletic leadership at Clemson University had lost their collective minds.
Over time, one man’s vision would prove those detractors wrong. Dabo Swinney just went about the business of taking on the monumental task of turning a good team into a great, elite program. Now, thirteen years later, Tiger fans everywhere are blissfully wallowing in greatness.
That is, until this 2021 apocalyptic season. Well, it’s not quite that bad. If ever anyone believed in superstition, triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, this season could be one of the mystical forces at work in making Tiger fans everywhere looking for heads to roll but in reality, no rational human being would even think such.
In a world where you’re only as good as your last game, this has been the most tumultuous campaign for Swinney and his Tigers. Injuries, lots of injuries, mid-season transfers, extremely high, yet unfulfilled expectations have led to much discontent, some loud and constant. While some fans have remained somewhat reasonable in their disappointment, others well, not so much.
So, what or where would Clemson be without the large, gregarious, “aw shucks” personality of its builder? I don’t think it would be a stretch to say Clemson might still be stuck in the mire of mediocrity. Sure, a bowl invitation most years, maybe a few ACC divisional titles, even possibly (but most unlikely ) an ACC Championship, but that would most likely have been about the best this program could have mustered.
Dabo Swinney is a self proclaimed “over believer” and that is the reason, among others, that has led the Tigers to its place at the top. It’s been an unbelievable, euphoric time to be a Clemson Tiger. I think the fear that congers up so much angst and discontent within the fanbase, is they fear the magic is gone. It’s not, that’s for sure. This behemoth football machine was built, not by magic but by faith, sheer determination and hard work.
Through one man’s vision, dreams, belief and unconquerable will this program was built to last, weathering any storm, even 2021. I suspect it’s here that the real greatness of what he’s built shines through, if you’re willing to look objectively.
Clemson University and it’s fans owe Swinney, in large measures, the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this season. He, his staff and an entire generation of players are living proof that the magic, that faith is still there and I suspect, will be for a long time.
No one’s mind nor heart is ready to try and comprehend a life after Dabo Swinney. However, it will come one day and like the works of the greatest of architects his work, “The House That Dabo Built” will indeed, stand the test of time.
Again, Dabo Swinney, being the consummate unapologetic showman, was speaking purely in hyperbole, creating news that is intended to draw media attention to his program. It was just his way of telling all that would listen, as an over believer, this program will be rolling again and he’ll be right there, behind the wheel of the ROY bus, driving it. You just got to love an over believer, especially when he’s an over believer not only in himself but in the program he built.
Check out the link below to remember how this adventure started.
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