Sports Chat: Dabo Swinney

Shea Lowery spends time with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. Pelham High School holds some fond memories along with his experience as a coach at the University of Alabama. "Change young men's lives" is his main goal as he talked in-depth in this week's 'Sports Chat.'


Dabo Swinney
Wife: Kathleen
Children: Will, Drew, Clay
Parents: Ervil Swinney and Carol McIntosh
Hometown: Pelham, Ala.
High School: Pelham
Position: Wide receiver, defensive back

Most fond memory while playing high school football:
"My senior class was the first class to graduate with a winning record at Pelham. A good memory for me. Also it would be me playing for Billy Tohill and the experiences I had while playing for him. And all the friendships that developed over time while being at Pelham."

What team did you most want to beat in high school:
"We always wanted to beat Thompson. That was our big rival in every sport."

Work-outs in high school:
"We had an athletic period. We worked out twice a week during the season. Heavy lifting came during off season. (Jan through July) I didn't get the true weight room experience until I got to Alabama."

Inspiration from your high school coach:
"All my coaches inspired me in different ways. They kept me motivated and kept me driven to be successful, and they all helped instill a belief in myself to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish."

"My coaches help keep me focused on the things that were important like grades and making good decisions. My high school coaches and college coaches were great role models and helped me in making a decision to become a coach."

"As I matured and got older, and advanced on athletics, it really became apparent to me how a coach could have an impact on kids. I always wondered why God caused certain events in my life. But when I got into coaching, it became crystal clear that I was doing what I was suppose to be doing. The things I went through in life prepared me to help with these kids."

First coaching job:
"Played on the National Championship team in '92 (Alabama) and was ask to help Coach Stallings as a graduate assistant (for the next three seasons). Then I became a full time coach. I coached at Alabama for eight years."

Most fond memory:
"My fondest memory was being in the locker room after we won the national championship game and just the outburst of emotions and the genuine love and appreciation we had for each other. Man, we had accomplished something that so very few get to accomplish. I will never forget being in that locker room. The relationships, the hugs, the tears and knowing that was it."

Main goal as a football coach:
"Change young men's lives. To take them where they can't go by themselves. Help them develop into better players and better young men. To help better equip them for whatever comes their way in life."

What is one way football prepares you for life:
"Life is about failing and succeeding and learning from mistakes and getting up when you get knocked down. That is what football is about. It is a tough, tough game played by tough people. I wish everyone could play, it teaches you how to be a part of a team and to sacrifice."

"It teaches you how to win and how to lose. Humility. Things are never as good as they seem or as bad. Sooner or later life teaches you those things. You have highs and you have lows. But hopefully the game can teach you if you don't learn anything else, when you fail at trying to do something or get knocked down, you don't quit. You get back up and try again. If you stay down, you won't be successful."

At the end of football season, what are three things you want your boys to walk away with:
"A championship, a great experience, knowledge that they did everything they could. Great experiences, the knowledge they worked hard and they grew from the experience. Walk away with their degree."

What is the greatest thing your mom taught you:
"To smile and bring a lot of good to a lot of people's lives. To believe in myself and keep a smile on my face. I watched her work hard and believe in herself all her life."

What is the greatest thing your dad taught you:
"Toughness. Some of it was direct and indirect experiences with my dad."

Favorite Quote:
"If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride and don't ever quit, you will be a winner."

How do you want to be most remembered:
"As a Christian, a good man who tried to make a difference in this world and in people's lives. A great dad, husband, friend and brother."

Dabo Swinney: "My time in Tuscaloosa was an incredible part of my life. I am so thankful for all the relationships that I developed with my teammates, coaches, and players. My journey to and through Tuscaloosa was not always easy, but I would not change anything. The University of Alabama is and always will be a special place to me."

Awards and Accomplishments: "Football-wise my greatest accomplishment was earning a scholarship, lettering three years, making Academic All-SEC and winning a national championship."

"Personally (besides my salvation), my greatest accomplishment was getting my business degree and my MBA. As the first college graduate in my family, I know the value of my education. Because of my education, I have been able to live a life that I could only dream of as a young boy."


Shea Lowery is the Director of Quinn's Ranch Children's Home.
Quinn's Ranch

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