COLUMBIA — When Hunter Renfrow saw the Department of Transportation’s Highway sign in recognition of Clemson’s 2016 National Championship in Football, the Myrtle Beach, S.C. native smiled proudly.
“This is something I will be able to tell my kids about,” the rising junior said from the Statehouse steps in Columbia following Dabo Swinney’s address to the joint Legislative Session in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Renfrow and Swinney, along with tight end Milan Richard and defensive end Richard Yeargin, were at the State House as the general assembly recognized the Tigers for winning the national championship on Jan. 9 in Tampa, Fla.
“This is an awesome feeling,” Richard said. “Being here today really lets you know that people really appreciate what you are doing. We are always around Clemson so being here in Columbia and being honored by the whole entire state really means a lot.”
Swinney was asked to address the House on Monday thanks to a special resolution the House passed last week. He was represented the resolution as well as given a picture of the Statehouse the day the Clemson Flag flew over the Statehouse following their 35-31 victory over Alabama in the national title game. The program also received a special framed resolution from Oconee County Rep. Gary Clary.
“I’m learning a lot. I don’t know a whole lot about this stuff,” Swinney said. “I didn’t really know that nobody gets to speak to the joint assembly and certainly some guy like me so it takes a resolution for something like that to happen so they had to all come together and sign it.
“It is interesting to me that the first thing I noticed was the date. The date was Fe. 14 and we all know that represents the day of love and that was my word last year and that is the word I carried all year long and it was one of the last things I said to our team. I told them, ‘We are going to win the game because you guys love each other.’ So it was pretty neat to see that introduced on Feb. 14 and then to have the opportunity to speak to the whole group.”
Swinney, who was supposed to speak for about eight minutes, spoke to the legislators for about 17 minutes and then went outside and addressed the media, lobbyist, alumni, university officials, fans and the Clemson Board of Directors on the capitol steps after the unveiling of the DOT’s highway sign commemorating the 2016 College Football National Champions.
The Clemson coach received a handful of standing ovations during his speech, which are usually reserved for the governor, senators and congressmen, and after his speech the alumni, lobbyist and lawyers sitting in the balcony broke out the Clemson Cadence Count, which of course Swinney joined in.
And though the State House is located in Columbia and just minutes from the University of South Carolina, on this day it was painted with Clemson Orange on the steps of the capitol building.
“What a privilege to be able address all of our elected officials here, the senators and the representatives,” Swinney said. “That is something I will never forget. I just appreciate the honor and recognition of our team and just the chance to represent Clemson University.”
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