Dabo Swinney to Alabama? Sorry Paul, not gonna happen and here's why
|Friday, May 4, 2018, 7:01 AM- -|
Paul Finebaum seems to want Dabo Swinney at Alabama. Crimson Tide fans, in all their arrogance, yawn and then sleep soundly knowing that once Nick Saban decides to retire, prodigal son Dabo will return to the loving embrace of his alma mater. After all, who would turn down Alabama?
South Carolina fans are in love with the idea of facing Swinney once every eight years instead of every year and there are plenty of coaches in the ACC who would love to see him take his talents back to Tuscaloosa.
Sorry Paul, not gonna happen.
Finebaum made his comments after seeing Swinney at last weekend’s Alabama Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He said that Swinney appeared to be comfortable back in his home state and for the first time thinks that Swinney would leave Clemson for Tuscaloosa.
That set off the typical message board rumors and posts, all of it fueled by the fact that there are no games and we have a long summer ahead. It’s the silly season, and silly things are said.
Swinney, because he’s brighter than most people give him credit for being, didn’t exactly shut the door on a return to his home state. He knows it’s smarter to leave that door open than to close it.
“I am humbled by that and certainly appreciate anybody that would even think that way that they would want me be a candidate for a job like Alabama or whatever,” Swinney told ESPN last year. “But that's just kinda the fandom. You know people just naturally make connections and think things like that and they never really consider all factors. I've always said you never say never because you never know what the dynamics will be.”
If you take all of that into consideration, it certainly sounds like Swinney would bolt for Alabama if given the chance. But, and this is a big but, I’ve been around Swinney for a long time. It took me awhile to realize the depth of his character, his ability to think ahead and to plan for the future. It also took me a long time to realize the depth of his competitive fire.
During the five-game losing streak to the Gamecocks, I spent a lot of time telling my friends who are Clemson fans that Swinney would right the proverbial ship. I’ve been around him in social settings and I’ve been around him for hundreds of interviews, and no one hates to lose like Swinney.
These same people who were ready to drive to Clemson and help him back are now the ones who sing his praises. Once he figured out the “five-bomb” photos that South Carolina fans reveled in taking with him, it set off a string of events that led to Clemson’s current four-game winning streak in the series. Most of those have been lopsided and will continue to be lopsided because he has a long memory. Every point Clemson scores is a mental *&%$ you to every South Carolina fan who smiled in those pictures.
So what does that competitive fire have to do with Alabama? Because with that competitive fire also comes ego. I am not saying that Swinney is arrogant or full of himself – he has the heart of a servant and is thankful for everything he’s been able to accomplish.
But he is also proud of what he’s built here at Clemson. All of the titles, the sparkling new facilities, and the ascendance into a national power have all been under his watch. He is aware of that. Everything that Clemson fans enjoy today about this program today, Dabo built. He is very cognizant of his legacy here in Clemson, and you would be hard-pressed to not acknowledge the fact that he’s the best coach in the history of the program.
Why would he leave and simply be another coach in the history of Alabama? To simply maintain what Saban built? I don’t think he would. That competitive fire burns too deep, and let’s face it, who wants to spend their time having every move compared to a predecessor?
And finally, there is the family element. I’ve spoken with members of his family over the years, and all of them have been of the opinion that Swinney will be at Clemson as long as the administration and fanbase want him here. They point to the fact that his sons have grown up here, that two of them are in school at Clemson and will play on the team next season, and another who is in high school. This is their home, and it’s his home, too.
I had one person explain it to me this way. When you get married and have children of your own, it’s good to go back home, maybe sleep in your old bed in your old house and it brings back nostalgic memories of the halcyon days of youth.
But those people you love with all their heart, it’s not their home. You have a home with them elsewhere, and after a few days, you yearn to get back to that new life you share with the most important people in your life. You can go home again, but it’s not the same as it was.
Sorry, Paul, Swinney’s legacy (and his legacies if you get my drift) are here in Clemson. Sorry, ‘Bama. Maybe Mike Price is once again available. That would give old Paul the ammo he needs for years to come and give Phyliss from Mulga plenty to talk about.