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Longtime defensive line coach Dan Brooks announces retirement

In addition to losing many of its top players, the defending national champions will have to replace one of their best assistants.

At their national championship celebration on Saturday, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced associate head coach and defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks has elected to retire.

"There has never been a coach that has been more committed or cares about his players more than Dan Brooks. Ever," Swinney said, via TigerNet. "Dan is 65 and decided he wants to retire and go out on top. I tried to talk him out of it, but this is what he wants to do. Dan Brooks - you deserve this, brother. You deserve this."

Brooks has spent his entire adult life -- 33 years, to be precise -- in coaching. In a career that spanned 410 games, Brooks coached 30 draft picks, 14 all-conference players and one Outland Trophy winner. He goes out having produced the top tackles-for-loss defense in major college football over the past four seasons:

Clemson Defense

Tackles For Loss (Rank)

Sacks (Ranks)


123 (1st)

38 (12th)


131 (1st)

45 (T-7th)


126 (1st)

48 (2nd)


130 (1st)

49 (3rd)




An original member of Swinney's first full-time staff, Brooks spent eight years at Clemson. Before his arrival to Death Valley, Brooks spent 15 years on Phil Fulmer's Tennessee staff, helping the Vols win the 1998 national championship. He also coached the defensive line at North Carolina under Mack Brown and at Florida in the pre-Steve Spurrier days. Brooks started coaching as a student assistant at Western Carolina and nabbed his first job in the North Carolina high school ranks.

Along with partner Marion Hobby, Brooks was a perennial finalist for the FootballScoop Defensive Line Coach of the Year award. He was named the AFCA's FBS Assistant Coach of the Year award winner in 2016.