Jeff Scott on Swinney: "He has an environment where people want to stay"


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Dabo Swinney has built an incredible culture at Clemson
Dabo Swinney has built an incredible culture at Clemson

CLEMSON – Jeff Scott has watched Dabo Swinney’s rise from wide receivers coach to interim head coach to full-time head coach to national championship coach. Along the way, he’s learned a lot of lessons.

Scott made his way back to Clemson as a graduate assistant during the 2008 season under former head coach Tommy Bowden. When Bowden resigned at mid-season, Scott was moved into a full-time role and became the recruiting coordinator in December of 2008.

He’s been there, as he says, every step of the way.

“It's awesome. I feel very blessed that I was here every step of the way. I was here the day he was named the interim coach, and I've been able to watch how he has built this program into a championship-caliber program,” Scott said. “It wasn't easy, and it wasn't some magic formula, it was really just being very consistent and having a vision, developing a culture and all of those things. You learn a lot from the people you're around. Sometimes you learn how you want to do things differently and sometimes you learn the right way to do things.

“Learning from Coach Swinney is going to prepare all of the coaches - not just the coordinators - for future opportunities. I feel very blessed. It reminds me a lot of my dad's career being at Florida State for 11 years under Bobby Bowden and the valuable lessons he was able to learn, and I was able to learn at a young age. I feel very blessed being able to be around Coach Swinney every day.”

Scott says that Swinney is one of the reasons assistants stay at Clemson instead of moving elsewhere.

“Whenever you see the coaching carousel and all of these jobs that have turned over every few years, and you look at the continuity that we've been able to have under Coach Swinney, it's really incredible,” Scott said. "Number one, it speaks to the type of environment that Coach Swinney has for his coaches. He has an environment where people want to stay. I know there's been plenty of coaches over the last few years who have had the opportunity to leave and they're staying here for a reason.

“A big reason for that is Coach Swinney and the environment he has here. Also, the support that's here from the administration standpoint has really put us in a position to have the continuity for a long time. That's what I believe it takes to be great for a long period. When you have that consistency on the field, you really need that off the field, and that's one thing we're most proud of to have here at Clemson.”

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables says that Swinney allows his staff to be both coaches and family men.

“He does a great job of managing people, having accountability, discipline, having passion and love for the players,” Venables said. “It creates an incredible culture in one that builds up and instead of tears down young people. He keeps the main thing the main thing and when I say balance that’s a big part of it. He lets us enjoy our life as husbands and fathers and again does a super job, too, of just making sure our players have a great college experience in a profession where there’s more eyes on you than ever. He doesn’t let pressure get to him in any way and if it does, he does a great job of hiding it. He just looks at it as a big responsibility in raising these guys the right way.

“Football is just kind of what we do and who we are, he’s a great example. That’s another part for me personally is that I’m challenged daily as a husband, as a father, as a Christian, and as a coach because he’s done a great job of surrounding himself with a great staff of good men and good people that are talented in their profession but are really good in all the other things other than being a coach. So again, just real blessed to be a part of that and exposed to that but all of those things is how I’ve learned and grown, and he does just enough to give you autonomy, but he’s going to have his hands on everything.”

Venables then laughed and said that Swinney isn’t afraid to be the stern head coach.

“He’s going to stay in his lane, but he’ll come over in your lane any time he wants and that’s great and I love that and he digs in as a coach, as a CO, and in recruiting,” Venables said. “He loves it. And just what a great ambassador he is for our program and he inspires people and pulls out the very best in each and every one of us. And I think he makes all of Clemson constituency very proud and our brand has never been better in large part it’s due to him and his vision and where he sees out of what he wants in the program and then our administration.”

Clemson’s administration is one of the best in the business.

“President Clements and Dan Radakovich and the rest of our administration giving us and opportunity to be successful and supporting us the right way because they’re as good as it gets in college football,” Venables said. “Very rarely do they say no but coach Swinney does a great job of keeping us mindful of that too and not taking advantage of one another, and it’s a great, great situation.”

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