Dabo Swinney Era Officially Begins

by - Senior Writer -

The Dabo Swinney era has officially begun at Clemson University.

Swinney was announced as the permanent head coach at a press conference Monday afternoon in Clemson, ending speculation that has centered around the job since Tommy Bowden resigned back on October 13.

Swinney walked into a room full of applause at Memorial Stadium's West End Zone, where he was announced as the 25th head football coach in Clemson history, and given a Clemson orange jacket that was almost as bright as the smile he was wearing.

"I have great pleasure and pride in being able to turn this over to Coach Swinney," CLemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips said. "This is one of those things where Coach Swinney has had six years of interviews. I am really proud of this football team, and proud of the character the team has displayed."

A visibly emotional Swinney, trying the jacket on, quipped "If it fits, I must sit" to the delight of the crowd, then fought back tears as he went through his faith in God, and his time at Clemson that has led to this moment.

"To begin with, I want to say that every day I tell my boys to dream big, and want to tell everybody out there to believe," Swinney said. "Because dreams do come true, and today I am very humbled, because one of my dreams has come true. It is a great honor and privilege to be named the head coach at Clemson, and today I share this dream and success with those who have helped me along the way."

Swinney then spent several minutes giving a heartfelt thanks to his family, friends, and coaches, including Bowden, that have helped him along the way, before talking about what his vision is for the program he takes over.

"Seven weeks ago, I had no idea what was ahead," Swinney said. "I talked about the goals and vision I have for this program, and today I think we achieved those goals. I hope ya'll have some type of idea of what I want our football to look like on Saturday. Clemson football has a tradition and legacy that has stood the test of time and is known throughout the country. It is incredible.

"I believe we can achieve those goals as One Clemson. The goal is simple, to recruit the very best student athletes, to graduate those athletes, and to win a championship. That will be my objective, and for those young me to leave here better because of their experience here."

Other highlights from the press conference included:

Swinney said he would not address any staff changes until after the bowl game.

Swinney laughed and said he would have done the job for free when asked about a bonus.

Swinney said that while the last seven weeks were difficult, he is sure there are new challenges ahead.

He said he has spoken with Bowden quite a bit, and that Bowden has been quite supportive. Bowden even showed up at his office one day to say hello, and Swinney he knows he has no bigger fan out there than Bowden.

Phillips said that while Saturday's win over rival South Carolina was not the clincher, it "certainly helped.

Phillips said that he and Swinney had about a three hour conversation about the job on Sunday

Phillips also mentioned that the number of coaches he spoke with about the position were, as he told the media, "more than ya'll have got."

When asked if he felt if Clemson was taking a gamble on hiring him, Swinney replied, "No. I've never failed at anything in my life. I don't don't think it's a gamble at all. If you ask me, I think it's a pretty good bet. I don't mean that in an arrogant way, but I'm confident in my abilities. Always have been."

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