William Christopher "Dabo"
Swinney (born November 20, 1969 in ) is the head coach of the Clemson University Tigers football
team; he was previously assistant head coach and wide receivers
was raised in Pelham,
Alabama, and attended the University of Alabama, where he joined the Crimson Tide football program
as a walk-on wide
receiver in 1989.
Swinney earned a scholarship and
lettered on three teams (1990–1992), including the Crimson Tide's
. During his time as an undergraduate at
Alabama, he was twice named an Academic All-SEC
and SEC Scholar Athlete Honor Roll
member. He received his degree in commerce & business
administration in 1993. He also received a master's degree in
business administration from Alabama in 1995.
After graduation, Swinney joined the Alabama coaching staff as a
graduate assistant, serving from 1993–1995. In December 1995 he
received his M.B.A
from Alabama and became a
full-time coach of 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, Richard
Wingo, had become president of Birmingham-based AIG Baker Real Estate and offered him a
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
popular longtime coordinator Rick
. Swinney proved to be both an excellent wide
receivers coach as well as recruiting coordinator, coaching
-leading receivers and
being named one of the nation's top 25 recruiters in 2007 by
. In January 2007, he was
approached by new Alabama head coach Nick
about rejoining the Crimson Tide, but Swinney opted to
stay with the Tigers.
Swinney was named the interim head football coach on October 13,
2008, after previous head coach Tommy Bowden resigned six games
into the 2008
. 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; at the time he was
informed he was working with the wide receivers on their upcoming
reputation as a top-notch recruiter with good candor with boosters and the media, Swinney was chosen over
Clemson defensive coordinator
Vic Koenning, former head coach of
Wyoming, and associate head coach Brad Scott, former head coach
Carolina. One of Swinney's first actions as head coach
was introducing 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 50 year winless streak against
the Eagles. On November 29, 2008, Swinney coached Clemson to a
31-14 win over South Carolina in the annual rivalry game
which Clemson became bowl eligible.
On December 1, 2008, Swinney received a five-year contract to
become Clemson's full-time head coach.
Head coaching record
‡ – Took over midseason from Tommy
, who resigned on Oct. 13, 2008.
was given to him as an
infant by his parents when his then-15-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.
During a press conference on Monday, December 1, Swinney named many
influential people who played pivotal roles in his life. Of most
influence was a high school coach and athletic director. While
playing high school football, his coach, S. Haithcock, made a
tremendous impression upon Swinney.
Swinney's desk at Clemson features a sign that notes "There is
nothing less important than the score at halftime."
While in college at The University of Alabama, Swinney was a member
of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.
- 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,
- 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,
- Interim Clemson boss Swinney introduces 'Tiger
Walk', Associated Press, October 16, 2008, Accessed October 17,
- Paul Strelow, Family Tides break upon Clemson coach, TheState.com,
August 20, 2008, Accessed October 14, 2008.