If Clemson fan are looking for new uniforms from the Tigers, it’s not going to happen
For those Clemson fans who want to see the Tigers wear a purple or white helmet with an orange paw or maybe wear the purple jersey with the orange pants, don’t expect to see the Tigers wear any of those combinations anytime soon.
“Not as long as I am the head coach, maybe the next guy,” head coach Dabo Swinney said Monday night during his weekly call-in show.
Swinney was asked by a Clemson fan if they could possibly change things up when it comes to the Tigers’ game-day uniforms. However, Swinney quickly shot down that idea.
“I lived through that on this side of it, and I am sure that is fun for the fans to figure out, but it is a nightmare for the coach,” he said.
Swinney explained when he was an assistant coach on Tommy Bowden’s staff, Clemson seemed to wear a different uniform every week. The Tigers had nine different combinations they wore during the Bowden era.
“My players were more distracted and worried about what we were wearing every week as opposed to learning the plan and getting the details down,” Swinney said.
Then some of the players were disappointed about what the decision was because they wanted to wear a different combination from what was chosen.
“It was a distraction and such a waste of time,” Swinney said. “Again, in my background, I just had never been around that.”
Of course, Swinney was talking about his background at Alabama, where the Crimson Tide wore just two uniforms. Swinney watched the Tide growing up and knew they only wore two uniforms and then he lived it for 13 years as a player and as a coach there.
“You did not even think about your uniform,” he said. “You just thought about playing well. There was no decision. Here is what you wear at home and this is what you wear on the road.”
When Swinney got the head coaching job at Clemson in December of 2008, one of the first things he wanted to do was learn what the Tigers’ real uniform was. So he enlisted the help of long time sports information director Tim Bourret and 1981 All-American Jeff Davis.
“I had a meeting and I said let’s talk about it. I wanted to know because I did not know what the traditional uniform of Clemson was because it was different all the time,” he said. “So, I kind of put some study into it and research and I said, ‘alright this is what we are going to do.’ I met with the team and I said we are going to quit worrying about the uniform. This is what we are going to wear at home.”
By the end of the 2010 season, Clemson’s uniform combination had reverted back to its traditional look from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s. At home, orange helmet with the orange jersey and white pants with two orange stripes down the side. On the road, they wear the all-white uniforms with the orange helmet.
The exceptions are in championship games or on Military Appreciation Day.
“If we have some type of championship on the line, whether it be a division, the state or the league or whatever, then we will wear the orange pants because that is something special here and I wanted to embrace that,” Swinney said. “We eliminated all of that. That is not going to come back. We wear the purple on Military Appreciation, that is kind of honoring our military heritage that we have here at Clemson. It is a big deal.
“Outside of that, I don’t think you will be seeing any different combinations, at least while I am the head coach.”
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