Clemson’s Dabo Swinney doesn’t stray from epic radio rant

The losses are piling up for Clemson, as is the frustration for Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers are 4-4 after last week’s loss to NC State. The loss ended the Tigers’ 12-year winning streak in which they had won ten or more games.

Swinney blasted a caller named Tyler for over five minutes during his weekly radio show on Monday. His anger was in response to Tyler questioning Swinney’s nearly $11 million annual salary in a season in which the Tigers had their most losses in over a decade.

A day later, Swinney could have walked back his tirade, in which he defended his salary, his path to coaching and his college playing career, among other things. Instead, the two-time national champion coach attacked Tyler and others who he said represent a small percentage of fans with inflated expectations for the program.

“An idiot trusted me with the Old Testament and he got an answer from the Old Testament,” Swinney told reporters.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney
Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney reflects on his team’s 24-17 loss to the NC State Wolfpack. Swinney angered a caller on Monday for questioning his salary and defended his actions on Tuesday.
Getty Images/Lance King

On Monday night, Swinney responded to Tyler’s question with a statement describing part of his journey to becoming one of the highest-paid coaches in the sport.

“To answer your question, I started out as the lowest paid trainer in this damn business. And I am where I am because I worked my ass off every day,” Swinney said during the radio show. “And I’m not going to let some smart guy get on that phone and create something like that. So if you have a problem with that, I don’t care, okay?”

Swinney signed a 10-year, $115 million contract before the 2022 season. He was making just over $800,000 when Clemson hired him in 2009 after being promoted to interim head coach without any prior head coaching experience.

“I work for the board of trustees, the president and the AD, and if they get tired of me running this program, all they have to do is let me know,” Swinney continued. “I’m going somewhere else where there is appreciation. It’s not just about winning. It depends on how you win. And it’s a tough year, but we’ve had 12 straight 10-plus win seasons. Twelve.”

Swinney didn’t hold back in his answer during his press conference.

“I’m not going to allow a season when I know exactly what the issues are and a lot of great kids and great coaches to do that,” Swinney told reporters. “I will fight for this program and hopefully we can regain some respect here. It’s damn hard to win. You just have to look around the country.”

Clemson became an elite program under Swinney’s watch. He led the Tigers to two national titles, their first since 1981. They have won eight ACC conference championships and have missed just one title since 2015. The former Alabama assistant has earned three national coach of the year awards.

However, there is growing criticism of Swinney’s unwillingness to sign players through the transfer portal. Swinney said he was undeterred by the criticism leveled at him.

“I’m not sitting here because I’ve listened to all the criticism, all the people who want me to do this, hire this guy, hire this guy,” Swinney told reporters. “If it doesn’t work, I can only blame myself. But I will always do what I am condemned to do. And some people say I’m stubborn, and I say I’m condemned in my beliefs.