TAMPA, Fla. – It was a time for random questions and reflection. Dabo Swinney recalled his days growing up in Alabama and “fighting” in the halls at school if anyone spoke ill of the Crimson Tide.
Like so many in the state, Swinney lived and breathed Alabama Football. His blood wasn’t red, it was crimson.
Dabo was the first member of his family to go off to college and his passion led him to the University of Alabama where he was intent on joining the team as a walk-on wide receiver, although Dabo coined a different term for his experience.
“I always tell everybody I was a crawl-on. I was one notch below a walk-on,” Swinney said. “It was an incredible journey for me to be a national champion my senior year and to be a part of an incredible senior class.”
After exhausting his eligibility and graduating, Gene Stallings kept Swinney on a graduate assistant coach while Swinney earned his master’s degree and ended up staying on as an assistant coach through Mike DuBose’s tenure before being fired when Dennis Franchione was hired to take over the Tide.
“I wasn’t happy to leave,” said Swinney. “I was not happy but God had a plan for me and he knew what I needed and I needed to go.”
The rest is history as Swinney has the Clemson Football team playing in it’s 2nd straight National Championship against his alma mater.
While Swinney coaches at a non-conference rival of sorts, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban admires the job Swinney has done.
“I really appreciate the way he has managed his loyalty to his alma mater but done a great job at Clemson at the same time and it never seems to be in conflict,” said Saban.