SARASOTA, Fla. — When Dick Vitale started talking about his honorees for his 14th Annual Dick Vitale Gala in Sarasota, Florida this past Friday, he wanted to share his Cotton Bowl story with Dabo Swinney.
Prior to the Gala, Vitale hosted a press conference with his four honorees, where he shared different stories about each, while also telling the stories of several children whom The V Foundation has helped in raising money for pediatric cancer research.
Vitale comes from a family of seven Notre Dame graduates, while he also owns an honorary degree from there. So, he shared the story of the Irish’s game against Clemson in the 2018 Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington, Texas last December.
“You broke my family’s heart,” Vitale explained to Swinney. “I was at the Cotton Bowl and my family owns seven degrees from Notre Dame … seven. My daughters are double Domers, they were athletes there. Their husbands graduated from there. One played quarterback and the other was a lacrosse star.
“They gave me an honorary alum degree. I had my Notre Dame stuff on. I was sitting in this box on the 50-yard line. In the first quarter, it was great. We said, ‘We got a chance!’ Then all of sudden, this kid (Trevor) Lawrence, and it is over baby!”
Lawrence threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers rolled to an easy 30-3 victory over Notre Dame. Clemson went on to beat Alabama, 44-16, the next week to win the program’s second national championship in three years.
“You have done a great job,” Vitale said to Swinney.
Prior to Vitale’s comments, Swinney talked about how as a kid he always wanted to hear Vitale call him a “Diaper Dandy.”
“You are not a Diaper Dandy! You are a Primetime Performer. Sold gold in every way,” Vitale explained.
Former Alabama head coach and two-time NBA Champion Avery Johnson spoke very highly of Swinney, too.
“His character. His walk with God. He is a great example he sets for so many coaches, but not only coaches that are in the profession, but aspiring coaches as well,” Johnson said.