Have you taken a step back and really thought about what Dabo and Kathleen Swinney’s $1 million pledge to IPTAY on Tuesday really means?
It means the Swinney’s are “All In.”
“Of course he is, Will. What are you talking about? He has always been ‘All In.’”
I’m sure that’s what some of you are thinking, and you are right. Swinney has always been “All In.” But you know we have all thought about it. What happens if Alabama comes calling? Would he be “All In” then?
Be honest, you thought about it. Once Nick Saban retires and “Mom comes calling,” Swinney would bolt to Alabama faster than Usain Bolt to a finish line. It’s just the nature of the beast, right?
Swinney grew up in Alabama. He grew up an Alabama fan. He played for Alabama and he coached for Alabama. It would only make sense that he would one day want to be the head coach of the Crimson Tide, right?
But Tuesday’s $1 million pledge says otherwise. If Swinney ever had the notion of leaving Tigertown, and let’s be honest, the only place he would go would be Tuscaloosa, then why would he give money to help the next head coach at Clemson? That logic does not make sense.
“We love Clemson University. We love this community. We love the state of South Carolina and I love the players I have had the privilege of coaching since I came to Clemson,” Swinney said. “This is our fourteenth year here. We are incredibly invested and have been for a long time. We have obviously been very blessed with Clemson Football. We have been blessed by God. We have been very passionate about giving to our church and we have always done that.”
This is not the first time the Swinneys have chosen to support programs at Clemson. In addition to past gifts of more than $340,000 from the All In Foundation, the Swinneys have personally donated more than $265,000 of their private funds to need-based scholarships, Golf Paws, the Clemson chapel project, IPTAY’s annual fund, and the completion of the WestZone.
But this gift was different for the Swinneys. This one was a gift showing their commitment to Clemson for not just the immediate future but for years to come. Swinney mentioned how he went out and sold the Indoor practice facility and the new football complex building to very influential business men, Clemson men who support Clemson in so many ways, whether it is on the Board of Trustees, the IPTAY Board of Directors, or through private gifts.
They heard him, trusted him and gave Clemson thousands, tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars, in addition to what they already give Clemson University and the IPTAY annual fund, to build the Clemson football program to what it is today and where it is going tomorrow.
“They are people who have sacrificed to support the vision that we have put forth here in Clemson. That is something that I do not take likely,” Swinney said.
So Swinney felt it was his turn to step up to the plate and show the people who have given so much to him and his football program that he was not only emotionally invested in Clemson, but he was now personally and financially invested, too.
“We don’t want to just ask everyone else to give. We want to lead in that regard as well,” Swinney said. “That’s what we chose to do and hopefully others will follow. This will set a good example of giving back. We give a lot to our church because we love God and we have been blessed. And we love Clemson football.
“We love specifically the players that have provided me the opportunity here at Clemson.”
And now he is showing Clemson and the Clemson Community that there is no other place he wants to be.
—Photo courtesy Clemson Athletic Communications