CHESNUST HILL, Mass.— “It’s not easy being a head coach’s son,” recalled Jeff Scott, whose father Brad Scott was a head coach at South Carolina for four seasons before closing out his career at Clemson.
The Tigers’ co-offensive coordinator praised Will Swinney son of Dabo Swinney for his hard work and the way he handles the pressures of being the head coach’s son, in light of his first career touchdown reception against Louisville. Will scored on an eight-yard shovel pass from Chase Brice as second-ranked Clemson cruised to a 77-16 victory.
There is a lot of added pressure when your dad is a head coach especially a national championship coach of a consistent contender. The pressure has only motivated Will to work harder at perfecting his craft.
“Growing up as a coach’s son you have to show even more who you are because of whatever preconceived notions people have,” Will said. “I’m not focused on that and my parents always told me to work hard and do my best so that’s what I focus on.”
Will Swinney has been around the program for as long as he remembers, his dad joined Tommy Bowden’s staff as the wide receiver’s coach in 2003 and the rest is history. Will remembers learning the basics of his position as a kid and sitting in on wide receiver meetings during elementary school.
Jeff knows the pressures of playing as a coach’s son but is proud of the way Will is handling it and sees a young Dabo when Will and his younger brother Drew are in meetings.
“You have to deal with all of the scrutiny in your personal life and to be on the same team (as your dad) is difficult but Will and Drew are a spitting image of their dad,” Jeff said. “They are very unique and don’t worry about that they just attack it. I just see a younger version of coach Swinney when those guys are in the meeting room.”
While it is no secret who Will’s dad is, he doesn’t get any special treatment and has earned every play he’s been on the field.
“We don’t have an asterisk beside his name because of what his last name is. He is respected on our team because he goes about his business. He takes notes in meetings and works for the opportunities he has been given,” Jeff said.
According to Jeff, Will and Amari Rodgers are always the last two players to leave the field because they want to develop their craft. In the past, Jeff has had to chase them off the field so they make it to study hall.
For Will, he thinks Dabo is more difficult as a parent than as his coach. However, the coolest part of playing for his dad is seeing how Dabo relates to the other players on the team teaching them about life the same way he did Will.
“He treats all of the players like his son, sometimes I feel like he is harder as a dad then he is as a coach. At the end of the day he wants to mold us and make us men,” Will said. “I always knew him as my dad but now knowing him as my coach and see that all of these men get access to this wisdom and he really teaches us how to think the right way.”
Clemson kicks off against No. 17 Boston College at 8 p.m. Saturday night on ABC.