Swinney breaks down his decision to hire two high school coaches
|Monday, March 21, 2016, 8:18 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Head coach Dabo Swinney wants to make sure his roster is as deep and complete as possible, and he doesn’t mind making a surprise offer to a recruit that deserves one. Even if they’re football coaches and he wants them to join his staff.
Swinney nabbed two head coaches from the high school ranks late last week, hiring Grayson (GA) head coach Mickey Conn as a defensive analyst and Rock Hill (SC) Northwestern head coach Kyle Richardson as an offensive analyst.
Richardson was 58-13 in five seasons as coach at Northwestern, while Conn started the Grayson program and has won multiple state championships.
Swinney told the media following Monday’s practice that he was happy to have both coaches on staff.
“I'm really appreciative that the administration gave me the opportunity to bring those guys. The big thing that I really wanted is that I wanted to hire two head high school coaches - not just two high school coaches but two guys who really fit here and two guys that are winners,” Swinney said. “They're state champions. They've coached at really big schools. They've dealt with leadership issues and managed players and staffs and parents and all of that stuff that comes with being a head coach, but particularly at the high school level.”
Swinney hired Chad Morris in 2011 as his offensive coordinator, and Morris was just a year removed from coaching high school football at Lake Travis in Texas.
“That was one thing that I really appreciated about Chad [Morris] when he was here - I thought he brought a good, healthy perspective to our staff room,” Swinney said. “He had only been in college one year and he had a lot to learn collegiately, but the perspective he brought I thought was great. I really wanted that in the room. I'm really excited about the leadership that they will bring to our staff and the perspective they'll bring to our staff. They're here to make us better and I think we got better. Both of those guys have great track records. Kyle has won three state championships. Mickey has been a state champion. They both have produced great players and understand the recruiting process very well from that end of things. It's great opportunities for both of them to take another step in their career. Mickey started the Grayson program and he was going on 17 years there, so this was a big move for him.”
Swinney said both coaches were surprised with the offer.
“Neither one of them had a clue that it was coming, but both were excited to have the opportunity. I think they make us better,” he said. “They're the senior offensive guy and senior defensive guy. Basically, they'll be in charge of the staff when all of the coaches are gone and will be involved in all of the input and everything we do around here. I'm really glad to have them aboard.
“They're the same as the player development guys. All of that part is the same, but there is a lot they can do. This is an opportunity to continue to develop my staff, strengthen my staff and they certainly did that."
The decision to hire from within the high school ranks was one that Swinney made last fall but something he had been wanting to do for more than a year.
"I made this decision as far as what I was going to do back in the fall. It's something I've wanted to do for a year or so, but I just didn't have the right opportunity," he said. "It was able to work out that I was able to go out and get two guys of that type of quality. I'm really appreciative of that.”