Clemson coach says Dabo Swinney is a young Bobby Bowden
|Monday, October 22, 2018, 6:13 PM- -|
No. 2 Clemson plays at Florida St. Saturday in Tallahassee, a homecoming of sorts for Scott. Brad Scott, Jeff’s father, coached with Bowden at Florida St. from 1983-93. It’s one reason Jeff loves to go back to Doak Campbell Stadium.
“Yeah, I have a lot of great memories from my time down there. I’ve been at Clemson now though for about 20 years because of my dad,” Jeff Scott said Monday. “The first couple times I went back down to Tallahassee it was a different feeling being on the other sideline. I’ve been on this side of the rivalry now for so long. When you think about the history of the ACC, its really been Clemson and Florida State every year, it has been a pivotal game in the ACC.
“There will be a ton of talented players on that field Saturday. Always fun to go back to Tallahassee, I have friends I went to school with way back in the day that are big Florida State fans, they always come holler out to me after or before the game.”
Scott says he has one memory from his time as a youngster hanging around the Seminole football team.
“In 1991 Florida State was about to play Miami, I was sitting in Charlie Ward's locker before the game and Charlie is right in front of me in his stool,” Scott said. “Bobby Bowden walks in, and you can already hear the crowd out there chanting. Bobby Bowden gave an amazing pregame talk, and I can remember it like it was yesterday, I was like that is what I want to do. I want to be a football coach.”
Bowden was one of the first coaches that allowed his coaches to have their families around the football complex.
"I give coach Bobby Bowden a lot of credit because he was one of the few coaches at that time to allow coaches families to have full access. We get spoiled at Clemson with Coach Swinney allowing our families to be around,” Scott said.
"I can remember when Charlie Ward was there, every Wednesday night we had a family meal, and after the meal, Charlie Ward would come over and get us and take us down to the gym. We would shoot baskets together every single Wednesday night, and I was only about 11 years old. Those memories growing up around that and going to bowl games every year is the reason I knew I wanted to get into coaching.”
Swinney also has a family night during the season – following the Wednesday practice – something that Scott says is reminiscent of Bowden.
"Coach Swinney reminds me a lot of a young Bobby Bowden with the way he runs the program and allows the families to be involved,” Scott said. “The coaching continuity Swinney has had here is also similar to the continuity Bobby Bowden had at Florida State. The other memory I have from my time down in Florida is when Florida State was playing Tulane, and we were up 49-0 at the half. So myself and a few of the other coaches kids decided it would be fun to go to the other sideline and tackle the green wave mascot. We were tackling the mascot, and all the fans started cheering, that next Wednesday night we got called up to Coach Bowden's office, and he talked with all the kids about proper sideline etiquette.”
He sees other similarities as well.
“Coach Bowden was very genuine, and he was himself. That’s the same with coach Swinney, what you see is what you get. What I remember about coach Bowden is that he took time to speak to people,” Scott said. “I remember we were walking through the airport and the security person said something to coach Bowden, and Bowden would literally stop and talk to him for a minute or two. Coach Swinney is the exact same way; he won’t walk past anybody without speaking. They both have a genuine interest in making peoples days better.
"I also feel like the players at Florida State loved coach Bowden, for the type of a man that he was. Part of me wanting to be a coach wasn’t just the excitement of being around all those glory days of football, and it was about the impact coach Bowden had on the player's lives. Even as a young kid I could see that, one day I wanted to have an impact like that. I don’t get to see coach Bowden a lot, but the day before the national championship game Deshaun Watson was awarded the NCAA Bobby Bowden award, we got to go to the church where they were giving away the award. Bobby Bowden spoke at the event, so it was pretty awesome to see him there. To hear speak the day before the National Championship game, especially since he was a guy that had such an impact on my life, it was a God wing for me.”