The Power of Belief: Dabo Swinney’s ‘Secret Sauce’

Have you ever heard that someone in your life believes in you?

It’s powerful, it’s humbling and it’s inspiring. In the day to day grind of life, sometimes just knowing there’s that one person that values you and appreciates you, gives you the strength to keep going.

I understand, it’s time to move on from those that have left the Clemson Football program to take the reins of their own programs, and focus on the Tigers. However, it’s hard to ignore the testimony of belief that Brent Venables attributes to Dabo Swinney. His emotional words are worth repeating.

“He had no reason to believe in me but he did,” Venables said of Swinney in a recent interview on Sirius/XM radio.

I took pause to remember the circumstances that surrounded Venables ultimate hiring as Swinney‘s defensive coordinator.

He has said he almost reluctantly agreed to fly from Oklahoma to interview in Clemson for the position. He recounts that even after he boarded the plane, before take-off, he was talking with his wife, questioning if he really wanted to go. That conversation continued up until his arrival on campus for the interview. He had doubts. Change, big change, creates great doubt.

He was Bob Stoops longtime defensive coordinator. When brother Mike Stoops became available a year earlier, he was brought in to share the defensive coordinator role with Venables. While never mentioned, one might speculate Venables felt a push for a change of his own. That push turned into an interview with Swinney. After the time spent with Swinney, he was hooked.

His Oklahoma defense, while respectable, ranked No. 38 in total defense in his final season with the Sooners. Over his last few years there, Venables’ defenses got worse statistically each year.

Usually, numbers don’t matter much when it’s about people. Then it’s about relationships. Nobody believes this more than Swinney. His intense loyalty and belief in those around him has synergistically produced phenomenal success. So it was with Venables and Swinney

In the article I recently wrote about Mickey Conn, I cited how he loved working with Swinney because of his loyalty and his belief in those around him. He said the common belief between people within this culture is the ‘secret sauce’ of the program’s success. That’s powerful. So it might not be wise to scoff at Swinney’s hiring from with-in. It worked before and I’m sure it’ll work this time, and in the future.

I’ve been lucky enough in my life to have had those few people that bolstered my spirit and confidence by their belief in me. It makes even the most mundane task a little easier to accomplish and the monumental tasks, somehow more conquerable. It’s a powerful tool, belief. For Dabo Swinney and his program, it’s the secret sauce that adds to the flavor of his ever growing legacy.

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