In the 19 season's between Danny Ford's dismissal and Dabo becoming the official (i.e., not interim) head coach, Clemson was a solid 139-89 (.610). In the six seasons (2009-2014) since he's led the program, Clemson is a much more stellar 57-23 (.713). It's clear he's been moving our program towards the on field success we enjoyed during the famed Danny Ford era.
Now, Dabo Swinney's off the field accomplishments have been recognized by two organizations in the past week. The Gene Stallings Award which "was created to honor college football head coaches who are also humanitarians and strive to promote healthy, vibrant communities through charitable and community service efforts" was given to Coach Swinney.
Gene Stallings and his family raised a special needs son and the loving manner in which they did so made an impact on one of his players, Dabo Swinney. In that vein, Dabo Swinney is being recognized for the work that his All-In Foundation had done, which includes helping fund Life (Learning Is For Everyone) Programs.
Swinney's "All-In Foundation" has made a significant impact on the local community and beyond. The mission of the foundation is to raise awareness of critical education and health issues in order to change lives across the state of South Carolina.
By the end of 2015 the foundation will have distributed over $1.7 million to its focus areas and grant programs. The focus areas are breast cancer prevention and research, family effect, the Call Me Mister Program and Life Programs. - News 12
What a special thing it is to have a coach that not only wins on the field, but also helps others succeed off the field.
Additionally, Swinney was recognized by the Palmetto Family Council for what he has done through his example and efforts to make "South Carolina a better place to live and raise a family." Dabo has punished star players for their wrongdoings only later to learn that the tough love turned their careers around. For New Orleans Saint Stephone Anthony, it was as simple as being benched as a sophomore that humbled him and motivated him to eventually reach his potential. For Sammy Watkins, it was a suspension at the start of his sophomore year after a drug incident. Shortly thereafter, Watkins would be baptized in front of his teammates and just another year later he was selected fourth overall in the NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Maybe most notable to the Palmetto Family Council, was Dabo Swinney's resolute stance against the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which some would characterize as an "anti-Christian" organization.
For those who don't know, The Palmetto Family Council highlights a few issues on their website which include: Marriage (e.g., supporting traditional marriage, subsidizing pre-marital counseling), Abortion (e.g., requiring ultra sounds, not using state funds to pay for abortions), Education (e.g., Abstinence in sex ed, critiques of evolution), Children (e.g., Restricting pornography and synthetic marijuana), and least controversially religious liberty (e.g., Allowing children to express their faith in school, Preserving public prayer at public college commencements). It is the last of which Dabo Swinney was to be recognized for by the Palmetto Family Council at their "Defenders of Religious Liberty" event on June 2nd.
This is a non-political, non-partisan website that will not take a stance on these views in this article. That said, we will compliment Coach Swinney on both being awarded for standing firm in his bold faith that outpours love as well as his decision to avoid politics and elect not to attend the event. Given the state of the media today, attending the event was a no-win situation for Clemson. USA today was already reporting that Dabo would attend an "anti-gay" fundraiser and SC House Democrats along with some political activists were quick to attack Coach Swinney. So while I applaud Dabo for receiving both of these rewards, I also applaud him for his reaction to both, which was to say:
"I just want to say thank you for this great honor and for the opportunity to have my name associated with The Stallings Award. "
and to decline to attend the fundraiser simply to avoid a distraction for his football team:
"I appreciate the recognition of my and the foundation's efforts. However, after much thought, in order to avoid a distraction for the team and the entire football program, I've decided it is in the best interests of all involved that I not attend the event on June 2."
Through his actions that earned him these honors and his reactions to them, Coach Dabo has made us proud.