Clemson Football: Dabo Swinney and Tigers Are a Smart Marriage of Coach and Team

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterJune 8, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 03:  Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates winning  the ACC Championship game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Bank of America Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Dabo Swinney's rumored contract is finally done, and as we wait for details concerning the most important aspect, the buyout, we know that he is going to be locked up for quite awhile.

As the Sporting News reports, Swinney's new deal runs through 2017 and raises him up to $1.9 million a year. That pay increase slides Dabo up the ACC's ranks, but still lands him behind Paul Johnson, Jim Grobe, Frank Beamer and Jimbo Fisher.

That's good for Clemson and good for Dabo.

The Tigers locked up their guy—the coach who was underqualified for the job when he got the interim tag removed, but then went on to lead them to their first ACC Championship in two decades. Dabo got a strong vote of confidence from a job that is one of the top football gigs in the country.

From the looks of things, this is a marriage that will result in Dabo beginning, and ending, his head coaching career in Tiger Town.


Re: Dabo & Clemson. It is his first head coaching job & his last head coaching job. At least at the major level.

— Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers) June 7, 2012


That's not a bad thing and it is not a good thing. Rather, it is just "a thing" for both parties. The Clemson job is a good one—there are very few jobs out there that are truly better than being the head football coach in Pickens County. Certainly there are the Ohio State, Florida, Texas and USC jobs that outrank Clemson.

With the way Clemson has been pushing for success, it would seem their big influential player, offensive coordinator Chad Morris, will be on everyone's shortlist before Dabo makes that leap.

As for the other jobs that are better, in theory, than Clemson—places like Georgia, Auburn and the like—Dabo is already swimming in those waters. A move from Clemson to Auburn wouldn't be the major step up that entices most coaches, especially not a coach who is still lucky to have received a shot at the big time gig he has.

None of this is a slam at Dabo by any means.

He has won an ACC Championship, recruited with the best of them and is pushing Clemson closer to being a Top 15 program. However, he is still the coach whose team was worn out by North Carolina State and dropped the ball against Georgia Tech when they had everything on their racket.

He is still the coach whose team finished 6-7 in 2010. 

There is one caveat, though. One great white buffalo out there that, if they come calling, Dabo would have to listen to: the Alabama Crimson Tide. That is his alma mater. That's where he played his football. That's where he spent eight years on staff. That's his home. That is the one job that is not only definitively better than Clemson, but also has to factor into the head coach's wishlist.

Now it would take some continued improvements from Dabo to get the call—not to mention Nick Saban disappearing from the picture—but that is the perfect storm that Clemson would truly have to worry about.