More than 200 former Tigers are expected for first the ever reunion under Dabo Swinney
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney knows he’s getting older. Why? Today he hosts his first reunion as Clemson’s head football coach.
Swinney and the Clemson Football Program will host its “Decade to Remember Reunion: The Swinney Era, 2008-2019” today. More than 200 players, dating back to when Swinney became Clemson’s interim head coach in 2008, are expected to return to Clemson for the reunion. They’ll attend today’s half practice and half scrimmage at Death Valley and then will take part in what Swinney described as a barbecue tonight at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson.
“We got all kinds of guys coming in, it is going to be a blast to hug everybody’s neck and have some fun and try to have an old fashion Swinney team meeting tomorrow night with these guys. I’m looking forward to that,” Swinney said following Friday’s practice.
Swinney mentioned former Clemson stars such as Super Bowl Champion Sammy Watkins and All-Pro wide receiver Nuk Hopkins will be among the former 200 players expected to attend the reunion.
“It is really cool for me,” Swinney said. “First of all, I can’t believe I have been here long enough to have a reunion. But it is what it is! Some of these guys are like 33, 34-years old that were on that ’08 team. We took the last decade and threw that interim group in ’08.”
The Clemson coach hopes today’s events help the current Tigers understand how far the Clemson Football Program has come since those early days. It was the 2008, ’09 and ’10 teams that laid the foundation of success that has since followed.
Since he took over the program halfway through the 2008 season, Clemson has turned into one of the elite programs in college football. The Tigers have produced a 130-31 record. They have won two national championships, played for it two more times, earned five straight College Football Playoff berths, won six ACC Championships and produced nine straight 10-win seasons.
“A lot of guys (on the current team) don’t know anything other than who we are,” Swinney said “So, it is kind of hard for them to understand.”
In 2009, Clemson won its first Atlantic Division Championship and advanced to the ACC Championship Game for the first time in the program’s history. In 2011, the Tigers won their first ACC Championship in 20 years and were the program’s first 10-win team in 21 years. They won 11 games for the first time since 1981 in 2012 and the list of accomplishments go on and on.
“It has been awesome and, with these guys coming back this weekend, it is going to be great. I don’t think you can appreciate what you have if you don’t know the history and the DNA of it,” Swinney said. “It is going to be an awesome and special weekend hanging out with so many guys.”
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