Life before becoming a Head Coach
Life for William Christopher Swinney growing up was not all roses. Swinney was born on November 20, 1969 and it wasn’t much later that he would be fighting for his family.
Not long after being born, Swinney’s brother Tripp- a toddler at the time- began to call him “That Boy,” which in some parts of Alabama began to sound like “Dabo.” Thus Dabo Swinney was born.
Swinney grew up with a mom suffering with polio and a father that became dependent on alcohol, but continued to overcome obstacles on his way to playing for his all-time favorite football team- the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Dabo worked hard cleaning gutters during the summer, but faced a huge problem heading into the fall: He was told that his Pell Grant and Student Loans hadn’t come through. He had to pay $550 the next day or he wouldn’t be enrolled in classes.
Check out this excerpt from ESPN’s feature on Dabo Swinney.
"Swinney called his mother at her job in Birmingham and told her the bad news. She went to her credit union for a loan, but was turned down. Neither one of them had money in the bank, as they were still struggling to make ends meet. “I had no answers,” Swinney said. “A thousand dollars. At that time, it might as well have been a million for me.” Swinney was resigned to the fact that he would probably have to move back to Birmingham and work for a semester to save money for tuition. He wasn’t sure there would still be a spot for him on Alabama’s football team when he returned. After crying with his mother on the phone, Swinney dropped to his knees and prayed to God for help. Then he checked the mail outside his apartment. Along with a few pizza coupons, there was a letter from Discover. He didn’t have a credit card but opened the letter anyway. Inside, he found two blank checks. He called the toll-free number on the letter. Much to his surprise, Swinney was told he had a $1,000 credit line. He wrote one check for $550 to pay half of his tuition and one for $450 to pay his rent."
Swinney married his sweet heart, Kathleen Bassett, who he met in first-grade and after years of pleading with his father, Ervil Swinney, to give up the life he had fallen into.
"“Every time Dabo saw Dad, he was trying to influence him,” Tracy Swinney said. “He’d tell him, ‘Why don’t you stop drinking? Why don’t you go to church? Why don’t you put all of this behind you?’ One day, God put his hand on him and he did.”"
Unfortunately, Ervil Swinney did pass away this past season right before the beginning of the 2015 football season.
Dab’s Pre- Head Coaching Career
Swinney got his coaching career started out as a Graduate Assistant at Alabama in 1993. He then coached the wide receivers and tight ends in 1996 and continued to work with those two positions until 2000.
In 2003, Dabo took over as the wide receivers coach and then was given the tag “Assistant Head Coach” in 2007.
Little did he know the very next year he would have the opportunity of his coaching career.
Let’s take a look at the evolution of Head Clemson Football Coach, Dabo Swinney.
Next: 2008: The Interim