|Swinney Reaches Out to Danny Ford
Danny Ford was just 30 years old when he took over the Clemson program.
CLEMSON -- The similarities between Clemson interim head coach Dabo Swinney and former head coach Danny Ford are numerous, so it’s no surprise that Swinney recently reached out to Ford in an attempt to better understand the situation he finds himself in.
Ford has not coached a football game at Clemson since 1989, but many Clemson fans hold the former head coach in such high esteem that every coaching vacancy, real or wished-for, includes the mention of Ford’s name as the replacement, and Swinney’s speaking with Ford shows he understands the relationship Ford still has with the university.
“I have spoken with coach Ford, and that’s (what they spoke about) something that I would definitely keep between me and coach Ford,” Swinney said on Wednesday. “I have a lot of respect for him, and we come from the same background, know a lot of the same people.
“If you’ve got a guy like that, that has been in the same situation I am, you use him. He understands Clemson and the people and the dynamic, and he lives right down the road, so it was pretty much a no-brainer for me to speak with him.”
Ford took over for Charley Pell, who left Clemson to become the head coach at Florida, with one game left in the 1978 season, coaching the Tigers to a 17-15 Gator Bowl win over Ohio State, while Swinney has been given the remaining games of the 2008 season to audition for the role as head coach beyond this year.
Ford was just 30 years old when he took over at while Swinney is just 38 years old, and both were born in Alabama, attended the University of Alabama, and played varsity football there (all three things also happen to be held in common with legendary Clemson coach Frank Howard).
“I just wanted to get his input and kick things around a little bit,” Swinney said. “We talked about different things, and it was a good meeting for me. I got a lot out of it. I know I feel comfortable speaking with him. He is an insightful, colorful man, and I enjoyed my visit with coach Ford.”