Friday, October 17, 2008


According to the Charleston Post and Courier new coach Dabo Swinney sent an email to the Clemson student body rallying the troops to the beleaguered Tigers’ cause.

Changing the mindset of a shaken team is not enough for Dabo Swinney.

On Tuesday — his first full day as Clemson's interim football coach — Swinney set about changing the culture of the fan base, too.

"The negativity is gone," Swinney said. "It's time to root for these guys. I don't care what it looks like. Let's root for these guys, because that's what they deserve."

Fan sentiment has been toxic in the wake of the Tigers' 3-3 start (1-2 ACC), and it was a factor in Tommy Bowden's resignation Monday morning after 9 1/2 years at the school.

The 38-year-old Swinney has plenty of things to worry about with a team that has lost back-to-back games heading into Saturday's noon game against Georgia Tech at Memorial Stadium.

He's not guaranteed a job beyond the end of the season, but he's bound and determined to make a lasting overhaul of the relationship between the team and its fan base.

Swinney sent an e-mail to students Tuesday asking them and everyone else to wear orange Saturday along with the Tigers. He spoke of on-campus pep rallies in the near future, and he wants to let students come watch a practice or two.

"There's some bridges I want to build," he said. "This is their football team. These students pay tuition here. … Sometimes I think it's kind of us and them and we're disconnected, and that's not how we want it around here."

He also devised a "Tiger Walk," in which the team will exit the buses two hours before each game and walk from Perimeter Road to the west end zone locker rooms — ideally through throngs of cheering fans.

After Tuesday's practice, he told his players to begin picking discarded cups off the practice fields and putting them into trash cans.

"Let's do things right," he said. "Just the little things."

1 comment:

  1. I am not one easily swayed by hype and hyperbole but I have been a coach for many years. Dabo has what it takes and is laying the foundation for the future. The installation of the tiger walk and the practice of doing the little things are huge in setting the tone for the future. Dabo should remain as the coach after this year.....I say this before he has coached a single game...Give him a contract, show recruits our stability and let him have a legitimate shot at coaching our team.


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