When Dabo Swinney was promoted from receivers coach to head coach six games into the 2008 season, he had no previous head coaching, or even coordinating experience, and had built a name for himself in the college football community an outstanding recruiter. The move left many of the Clemson faithful scratching their heads when the move was announced. Since that point, Dabo has developed a culture and climate for his team that has helped Clemson earn a seat at the table among the nation's best.
In his second year at the helm, Swinney led the Tigers to a 9-5 record and first place finish in the Atlantic Division of the ACC, and has since compiled an overall record of 40-21, including a 25-11 mark in the conference, three conference division titles, one outright ACC title, .and five bowl trips (2-3 overall). While his path to the head coaching position is a little unconventional, he has made the most of the opportunities and really capitalized.
USA Today came out with an interesting piece on Swinney recently that is worth a read. The article talks about his coaching career, how he contemplated a career change after being part of a staff that was let go at Alabama, and the qualities that make him a great fit at Clemson. While all of those are great reasons to take a look at the original article, it was Dabo's quote about his favorite part about being a head coach that really stuck out to us.
"I've had people say things to me like, 'Don't change.' I don't know how to be anything other than myself. I can't do it this guy's way or that guy's way." Swinney explained. "The thing I enjoy the most about being the head coach is that I get to create the climate. I get to control the environment everybody comes to work in every day, and I'm very in tune to the chemistry, the morale of my staff, my support staff, my secretaries, the guy cleaning the building, the players, the walk-ons. It really matters to me that they all have a good experience, and that starts with me."