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Dabo: Trophies won't define us, culture will

When you win a national championship in college football, you don't get just one trophy. No, you practically have to build a new shelf to store all your new bling.

Clemson's national championship spoils include a trophy for winning the ACC championship...

Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

.... a trophy for winning the Fiesta Bowl....

Dabo Fiesta Bowl

.... a trophy for winning the national title from the College Football Playoff...

Credit: Al Tielemans

Credit: Al Tielemans

... as well as trophies from the Coaches' Poll, the National Football Foundation and the Jelly of the Month Club (probably).

As you can see, it's a haul.

Clemson trophies

But as Dabo Swinney told the estimated 65,000 on hand to celebrate Clemson's trophies,

"These things are beautiful. It's going to be displayed, it's going to be great. But this trophy, these trophies, they're not going to define us -- ever. The culture of our program is what we will be defined by. And that culture is based on how we build men through their experience here at Clemson. That culture will be built by how we love and serve and care for our players and this community. That culture is built on how we teach these young people to love and serve and care for others. That's what our culture is going to be defined by."

Trophies won't define us. This is what will define us....great words.

— Jon Gordon (@JonGordon11) January 14, 2017

While we're on the subject, here's what Mack Brown told his Texas team immediately after winning the Greatest Championship Game in College Football History (sorry, Clemson).

"I don't want this to be the best thing that's ever happened in your life," Brown said then. "When you're 54 I don't want you to say, 'Winning a football game was the best thing that ever happened in my life.' You'll have it and you'll be a champion for the rest of your life. You make sure that's one of the best sports things in your life, but you promise me you've got enough about you to win a national championship, you've got enough about you to be a great citizen and a great role model, a great father and a great leader in your family. That's what we're looking for when you get out of here."

A year ago, on the 10-year anniversary of that message, Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News wrote a piece on how Brown's players still remembered and lived by the words their coach said in that Rose Bowl locker room. "It was one of the realest things said in my life, at the absolute perfect time," Longhorns wide receiver Quan Cosby said.

"Every time I see it, it hits home," center Lyle Sendlein said. "He was exactly right."

Here's hoping 10 years from now the people of Clemson have similar stories of what Dabo said Saturday.