The Cool School
|Thursday, June 9, 2016, 9:19 AM- -|
The Cool School
Several years ago when South Carolina was struggling in the first few seasons under Steve Spurrier, he said they needed to recruit better players, and the easiest way for that to happen is to turn South Carolina into a cool place to go to school. Spurrier was able to make South Carolina a cool place for a few seasons before he lost it once again at the end of his career.
Pete Carroll did the same thing at Southern Cal. When he was the coach of the Trojans, it was often a Who's Who of Hollywood stars at practice and games. USC (the real one) was the coolest program in the country. There was no telling who would show up anytime the Trojans took the field.
Clemson has become that school under Dabo Swinney.
This week's camp has seen visitors like Desmond Howard and Charlie Ward. Mack Brown and Kirk Herbstreit were on campus a few weeks ago. We have seen Stanford's David Shaw in town. Mike O'Cain came back home yesterday. Obviously, we see Rex Ryan around the program. Gene Stallings loves Dabo. Keyshawn Johnson had a blast here last year. Dan Marino came to bowl practice. Former players always come back including some of the biggest names in the sport. Nancy O'Dell seems like a spokesperson for school now.
Everywhere you look, you see stars here now, and players take notice. It gives the players the impression that something big is happening around here. It gives prospects the perception that big things are always surrounding the program.
It also feels real. When Jim Harbough brings in Ric Flair, it feels contrived. Everything Butch Jones does at Tennessee feels fake and disingenuous. I am biased, but at Clemson, it feels real.
Dabo has legitimized the Clemson brand and the program. He has differentiated. He has created a buzz to the point where people have to come check out what is happening here.
Winning is the answer, but not the only answer. Clemson is winning, but it is the way it is winning. Dabo dances. He jumps in his players' arms and celebrates. His offense looks fun. Brent Venables' intensity is noticed by players and prospects. Clemson football just looks fun. It just looks like a cool program to be a part of at this point. Heck, we have pizza parties for thousands of fans here.
Fans love to win too, but I think this program is fun to follow now, and it feels cool to be a fan of this program now also.
The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency
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