William Christopher "Dabo" Swinney

William "Dabo" Swinney Jefferson County native William Christopher "Dabo" Swinney (1969- ) is a former University of Alabama (UA) football player and current head coach of the Clemson University football team in South Carolina. Over the past 12 seasons, Swinney has amassed a 130-31 win-loss record, numerous coaching awards, six ACC Championships, and two College Football Playoff National Championships.

Swinney was born in Birmingham, Jefferson County, on November 20, 1969, to Ervil and Carol Swinney. The youngest of three children, one of Swinney's two brothers first referred to his baby brother as "that boy," which sounded like "Dabo" to other members of the family. Not long after his youngest son's birth, Ervil moved his family to nearby Pelham, where he owned a successful appliance repair business with three local shops; Carol Swinney worked part-time as a substitute teacher. As a student at Pelham High School, Dabo played wide receiver for the Pelham Panthers football team. During this period, his father's business began to fail and his father began to suffer from alcoholism. Swinney's parents then divorced, the family fell into in debt, and lost their home to foreclosure. He graduated from Pelham High School in spring 1988. Swinney and his mother would live in the homes of various relatives and friends until he enrolled at UA in the fall of that year.

Wide Receiver "Dabo" Swinney After moving to Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Swinney lived in a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate and his mother. In January 1989, Swinney walked on to the UA Crimson Tide football team, becoming a wide receiver under head coach Bill Curry, who left for a head coaching position at the University of Kentucky the following year. In 1990, Gene Stallings was named the head coach and mentored Swinney. Stallings offered Swinney a scholarship, though he only played in a handful of games with seven catches for a total of 81 yards over his college football playing career. As a student, Swinney received four varsity letters, two Academic All-SEC honors, and an SEC Scholar Athlete award and participated in the Crimson Tide's national championship victory against the University of Miami in 1993. That same year, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in commerce and business administration, making Swinney the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

"Dabo" Swinney and Crimson Tide Players Swinney enrolled again at the University of Alabama to pursue a master's degree in business administration before joining Stallings's staff as a graduate assistant. In 1994, he married his high school sweetheart and fellow student Kathleen Basset, with whom he would have three children. In 1995, Stallings hired Dabo as a full-time assistant after he completed his graduate education, serving as a tight ends coach and then a wide receivers coach. After Stallings retired in 1996, Dabo continued as part of new head coach Mike DuBose's staff. When DuBose was fired in 2000 after a 3-8 season, Swinney and his fellow assistant coaches were also terminated. Dabo took a job as a commercial real estate agent in 2001 in Birmingham until 2003, when he was hired as a wide receivers coach at Clemson University under head coach Tommy Bowden; Swinney's former wide receivers coach for the Crimson Tide. Bowden is the son of Birmingham native and college football icon Robert "Bobby" Bowden who coached Florida State University to two national championships. In 2007, Swinney was promoted to the position of assistant head coach/wide receivers coach. Bowden resigned halfway through the 2008 season, posting a 3-3 record and Swinney was promoted to interim head coach. He led the Tigers to a 4-2 record for the remainder of the season as well as a victory over in-state archrival, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. On December 1, 2008, Swinney signed a five-year contract, becoming the permanent head coach at Clemson. (He signed contract renewals in 2013 and 2016.)

In Swinney's first season as permanent head coach in 2009, the Clemson Tigers clinched the Atlantic Division title of the Atlantic Coast Conference, though they fell to a 6-6 season in 2010. In 2011, the Tigers began their first of a series of 10-plus winning seasons that includes every season through 2019, nine bowl game victories, six ACC Championships, and four College Football Playoff National Championship appearances, going 2-1 against the Crimson Tide and losing in 2020 to the Louisiana State University Tigers. Swinney has also been named the Associated Press Coach of the Year, two-time ACC Coach of the Year, Walter Camp Coach of the Year, Woody Hayes Coach of the Year, and Home Depot Coach of the Year and is a two-time winner of the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award. In his 12 seasons as Clemson head coach, Swinney has amassed a 130-31 (.807) record, is 76-16 (.826) in ACC regular-season games, 6-1 (.857) in ACC Championship games, and is 10-6 (.625) in bowl games. Swinney has earned a reputation as one of the game's top recruiters and is currently the highest paid coach in college football.

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