Dabo Swinney announced that he has made the decision to part ways with 2 assistant coaches. OL coach Thomas Austin and DE coach Lemanski Hall will no longer be members of the staff. The full announcement, including a statement from Lemanski Hall, can be found here.
Austin was promoted before the 2022 season to work as the full-time offensive line coach, after having served in various support and assistant roles at Clemson and Georgia State. He spent some time as an actual assistant at Georgia State before moving into a support role at Clemson and was being groomed as the heir to Robbie Caldwell in the position.
Hall served as an analyst for Clemson from 2015 to 2017 before being promoted to the DE coaching position in 2018. Prior to that he had a long relationship with Dabo
At first glance, this is a welcome and surprising change. The last 2 seasons of OL play have been extremely frustrating at Clemson, and despite the tradition of a slow start followed by a unit gelling from 2015-2020, that never happened in 2 years under Austin. And this was despite some of the best OL recruiting we’ve seen at Clemson. The hope was that moving on from Robbie Caldwell after the 2021 season would see an improvement in OL play, but that never materialized.
Lemanski Hall is a surprise. There has been some consternation about DE development since his arrival, especially with respect to players getting better while at Clemson. The Tigers have certainly had effective DEs, but it is an open question about how much better some of those guys could have been.
Reading this statement, it does seem like Dabo decided to fire Austin while things are a bit murkier with Hall. This is pure conjecture, but it would not surprise me if Hall either isn’t loving being a college coach, especially the recruiting side, or he is looking for a position that could allow more upward mobility. It sounds like this move was truly a mutual decision.
Best of luck to both Austin and Hall as they embark on the next chapter of their coaching career, wherever that may take them.