Dabo Swinney's Press Conference

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media for the first time as Clemson's permanent head coach Monday.

Terry Don Phillips Audio: (2:50)

Terry Don Phillips' Opening Comments
Appreciate y'all being out with us today and take part in this great occasion. I have a lot of pleasure and pride in being able to turn it over to Coach Swinney.

Coach Swinney had about a six-year interview. He had about six or seven weeks with the team. And I'm really proud of our football team and the character they displayed.

When you look at where they were when Coach Swinney took over ... they were down and out and many people had written them off. They rallied. They fought back and gave great effort and turned the season around.

Dabo Swinney Audio: (30:11)

Dabo Swinney's Opening Comments
Swinney: It fits. If it fits I must sit. Thank y'all so much. (tears up) Dang. As I told the team I usually don't get emotional very much. I haven't had the chance to be emotional until today. First off I want to think everybody for being here. I'm usually not a guy that is it at a loss for words, as my mama would say. But I thought I'd write some things down today because I didn't want to forget anything. First off, I wanted to take this platform that I've been given and thank God. There is really only one reason that an old boy from Pelham, Ala. is here today and that's by the grace of God. I hope people will listen to me when I tell them what my secret of success if. Keep your eyes on the Lord in everything you do. I'd like to tell everybody out there to dream big and that dreams do come true. Today, I've very humbled to announce today that my dream has come true. It's an honor and a privilege. I want to think President Barker and Dr. Phillips. I know Dr. Phillips is well-travelled and he's made it clear to me he had a lot of choices. I want to thank IPTAY and the faculty. I want to thank the students. They have been awesome. The former players at Clemson have been unbelievable. Most of all I want to thank the current staff and the current players. What these players and what these coaches have done these last seven weeks has really been amazing. As I told them, they've served as a great lesson to a lot of people on to handle adversity and don't quit. There are a lot of quitters in this world. A lot of people who take the easy way out.

There are no quitter on these teams or on this coaching staff. Truly the last seven weeks, everybody has been all in. Next, I'd like to thank my family. My wife Kathleen. Will. Drew and Clay. Nobody can ask for anything better than what I have with my precious family. She has been with me for a long time. She had no idea what she was getting into the sixth grade when I sent her a note saying will you go with me? Yes or no.

I want to thank my mom. My stepdad Larry. I want to thank my Dad who's not with us but is at home watching. I want to thank my step-mom Phyllis and my brother Tracy and my brother Tripp. Want to thank them. Love them very much. All my in-laws, I actually really like them. Bobby and Judy Hayes. Really close friends of mine. All of my friends. Even a former teammate of mine here today. Want to thank all my former players, who I have so much respect for. I want to thank all my former teammates. I've been deeply moved by all of my class of 1992 teammates. The reason we won the national championship at Alabama in 1992 is still very much alive today. We were a very close to team who cared about each other. It's been very moving to have gotten the support from them the last couple of weeks.

[Thanks a series of coaches including Tommy Bowden and Rob Spence, Brad Scott, Woody McCorvey] I really want to especially thank Coach Stallings. He's had a huge impact on my life.

I want to thank Tommy Bowden for the support he's given me the last seven weeks. It's an honor to build on the strong foundation he's left behind.

I want to thank Danny Ford. We are a lot alike in a number of ways. in 1990 Gene Stallings came in and there were a lot of guys from the Clemson staff. Bill Oliver, Woody McCorvey. I'm very thankful to have his influence as well.

Seven weeks ago I was very thankful to have the opportunity but had no idea what to expect. But I had a vision of the program and I think we achieved those goals.

Clemson football has a tremendous legacy and a tremendous tradition that is recognized around the country. The passion of the Clemson family is what makes this one of the very very best jobs in the country. My goals are simple: to recruit the very best student athletes we can recruit, to graduate them, and win a championship. That will be my objectives. For these young men to leave here better because of their experience at Clemson University.

We will play with great effort. With passion. With enthusiasm that will be second to none. And we will embrace the tradition and passion here because it truly is second to none. I'm truly excited about the bowl opportunity here. I'm very proud of these guys. I'm so proud of these seniors. This will always be my favorite senior class. Always. And we aren't done yet. I'm so thankful these guys get one more opportunity because this is a very special group.

I'm not going to address any staff issues until after the bowl game.

We are going to immediately address recruiting. We will solidify recruiting quickly. That is something we will get started on tonight. But as far as staff issues and things, I will not address that unless a situation arises. Otherwise all of those things will be dealt with after the bowl game.

To everybody out there who scratched Clemson off your list. Check us out.

Swinney, Phillips Q&A: (21:03)

Did you get that bonus you were hoping for?
Swinney: Not yet. We are still talking. Terry Don Phillips ... I can tell him this ... I would have done this job for free. He way overpaid. He's been very very gracious. I've had to earn everything I've ever had in my whole life. I'm kind of glad I had the opportunity to do it this way.

What will be tougher for you, the last seven weeks or what lies ahead?
Swinney: Well I would say what's ahead. There are always new challenges.

How did you meet Frank Howard?
Swinney: It was my beautiful mother's 40th birthday. Mayor Hayes, who was the mayor of my hometown in Pelham- he was good friends with Coach Howard. They popped in on her 40th birthday. As you can imagine he created quite a stir. I was probably Will's age actually.

Talk about the emotion of the big picture and what this day would be like in your mind.
Swinney: This day really didn't pop into my mind until last night when it became a reality. I really didn't have much time to think about this moment. It's been so much going on with our team. Relentless pursuit of a goal with no time. Trying to wear several different hats.

Talk about Tommy being supportive. Did you talk with him daily since he resigned in October?
Swinney: Oh yeah. Not daily. Talked to him quite a bit. He's been extremely supportive. I was sitting at my desk one day and the little sliding glass door and it's Tommy. He pops his head in and says, 'hey you got anything to drink in here?' He just stopped by to say hello. I know I don't have a bigger fan out there than Coach Bowden. That was a very awkward day. He immediately made me comfortable and said listen this is the best thing for everybody involved and this will give you a shot.

Terry Don Phillips did you know this was going to happen before Saturday?
Phillips: Geoff [Hart] that's a good question. It certainly helped. Again, I go back to what I said earlier. Dabo has had a six-year interview. It goes back to the conversation with Coach Bowden when he thought this was the best decision. Most people close to me know how I feel about Dabo. Like Dabo said, I appreciate Coach Bowden for that opportunity to put him in that position because I think it would be safe to say we wouldn't be having this press conference with Dabo unless that happened.

How many coaches did you meet with before deciding on Dabo?
Phillips: There were some outstanding coaches out there. Once I found out how the rules were played with going out to Oklahoma City, I did find out that people hold this program in high esteem. There was a tremendous amount of interest in the program. Outstanding coaches and individuals out there. I'm tired of traveling and I'm very proud of Dabo. I think you see what a special young man he is. The one thing we were going to do was to have an open mind and let the chips fall where they may.

What was the meeting like with Dabo yesterday?
Phillips: We are actually still talking about some things. It was pretty good. Two or three hours. In the afternoon.

How many coaches did you talk to in this process?
Phillips: Well. More than the number y'all got. I won't go any further than that.

Do you feel like it's a gamble with Clemson taking a chance on you?
Swinney: No. If you are asking me it's a pretty good bet. I don't mean that in an arrogant way. I'm confident in my abilities and always have been. I believe in myself - it goes back to what I said before and if you put your eyes on the Lord and you don't quit you are going to be successful. It's a pretty do investment if you look at my track record.

A couple of staff members had head coaching experience and that really could have played a role in what happened the last seven weeks in terms of jealousy, etc? How did you manage to pull that off?
Swinney: Because everybody put all of that stuff on the shelf. Egos. Pride. Not that I gave them an option. And they focused on these players. I told the staff last week I just can't tell you how I appreciate you going about your staff. They've been very supportive. They've been easy to work with. That's one of the reasons we need to finish this thing the right way.

What kind of chore is it going to be to salvage this recruiting class?
Swinney: I don't think it's going to be big chore. I think we have to go to work. I'm excited about it. With what we have here at Clemson. This is second to none. We can recruit with anybody. We got C.J. Spiller over there. Heisman - 2009. James Davis. They had a lot of choices. We've beaten Southern Cals, Georgias, Floridas and Florida States. We've got a good foundation here. I tell people this all the time. What we have at Clemson is something special. When you come to Clemson you get out of the way because Clemson sells itself. We have a team in place that makes this place special. Everybody takes so much pride in their segment in what they do. When the recruits get here- it sells itself. The one thing about this place is people like it here. Players are happy. Coaches are happy. Families are happy. You can't fabricate that. You can't say that at other places. We have a lot of work to do. I don't look at it as a chore but as a privilege.

What did you do when Terry Don Phillips told you that you were going to be Clemson's next head coach?
Swinney: Well I did three cartwheels. Backflip across the table. Really really excited. At peace. Because I knew it could go either way. I didn't sleep very much last night. It's been good. It's been nice to really think and reflect because all it's been is to our team and the next opponent.

Who did you call first?
Swinney: My wife. My mom was in town. Outside of family? Nobody.

As far as mentioning the goal for a championship, is that next year? The year after?
Swinney: It's always next year. It's always next year. It will be like that as long as I'm here.

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