This football season Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney cut an advertisement for motorcycle safety that airs regularly on the radio in Upstate South Carolina.
On Monday night during Swinney’s weekly “Tiger Calls” show with Don Munson on 105.5 FM WCCP, a caller asked Swinney about the ad and his experience on motorcycles. And Swinney jumped at the opportunity to talk about his love for riding his Harley on the open road.
“It’s funny especially with your kids because when you have kids, they don’t really know you had a life before they existed,” Swinney joked. “I grew up riding motorcycles, I rode motorcycles probably since I was in the second grade. I rode motorcycles, mopeds, go carts and four wheelers.”
In fact, as a kid in Pelham, Alabama Swinney worked hard to save up money and bought a Honda-150 when he got his motorcycle license at 14.
Throughout high school a motorcycle proved his primary means of transportation until he sold it for nearly the same price it was purchased before he went to college.
“I would ride everywhere, I rode to the ballpark, I rode to school and I rode my motorcycle all over, I loved it and it was a natural thing for me,” Swinney said. “Then my senior year of high school I sold it and I kept it spit-shine, so I got almost what I paid for it, then you go on with life, go to college, get married and have kids.”
Throughout Swinney’s 20-year marriage to his wife Kathleen he dropped hints that one day he would get a Harley Davidson so they could go on rides together.
Then on Christmas morning in 2017, after the Swinney’s opened their presents, Kathleen told her husband that he may have something else waiting for him outside.
“I walk out there and son of a gun there’s a dang Harley out there and I was so blown away I couldn’t believe it,” Swinney recalled. “Of course, my boys said, ‘you don’t know how to ride that’ and I said, ‘y’all have lost your mind, are y’all crazy?’ I jumped on that thing and took off and they all looked at me like, how do you know how to do that?”
This year on the Swinney’s wedding anniversary Dabo and Kathleen loaded up the Harley and took a drive up to Highlands, N.C. for lunch. But they forgot to check the weather forecast before the couple embarked on their journey.
The bottom fell out before they entered Cashiers, N.C. and road construction forced the Swinneys to get soaked. So they pulled over at a little gas station to dry off before continuing toward their lunch plans.
“I went in there and gave the lady $20 and she let me park my motor there and thank god across the street there was a little mountain store where you can buy shoes and clothes,” Swinney said. “Literally we went in there bought underwear, pants, dry shirts and tennis shoes.”
“We were soaked so we let it pass but then it was great we just threw all of our wet stuff in the motor, went up to lunch at Highlands and drove back,” he said.
Football season has finally arrived. Time to represent your Tigers and show your stripes!