Clemson University Head Football Coach William C. “Dabo” Swinney, who led his team to an undefeated regular season in 2015 and who has won more than 73 percent of his games in eight years as head coach, has been presented the 2016 Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award from the United States Sports Academy.
Swinney recently received the award from Academy Director of Doctoral Studies Dr. Fred Cromartie at a ceremony in conjunction with Clemson’s annual football kickoff celebration.
Swinney guided Clemson to the number one national ranking in every College Football Playoff poll in 2015 and led the Tigers to their first National Championship Game appearance under the new College Football Playoff National Championship format. The Tigers led the University of Alabama in the fourth quarter of the championship game, but came up just short, 45-40, in an epic game in the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on 11 January 2016.
Following the team’s 14-1 record and No. 2 final ranking, Swinney was the recipient of 10 national and two Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Coach-of-the-Year honors.
The Academy’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award is presented annually to a coach who has experienced outstanding achievement and has exhibited a high standard of propriety, imagination, and innovation as a character-builder in the tradition of great teacher-coaches. Amos Alonzo Stagg was one of the winningest college football coaches in history with 314 wins. His imagination and innovation established many sports traditions, strategies, and character-building lessons still used today.
In eight years as the Tigers’ head coach, Swinney has directed Clemson to a 75-27 overall record (.735) and a 47-14 ACC regular-season mark (.770). He has also led the Tigers to the ACC Championship game three times, won two ACC Championships, won or shared four ACC Atlantic Division titles, and won five bowl games.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Swinney received a bachelor’s degree in commerce and business administration from the University of Alabama in 1993 after lettering in football three times (1990-92). A walk-on who went on to earn a scholarship, Swinney was a wide receiver on Alabama’s 1992 National Championship team. He was also named Academic All-Southeastern Conference (SEC). He earned a master of business administration degree from Alabama in 1995.
After his playing career, Swinney served as an athletic graduate assistant from 1993 to 1995 at Alabama. He became a full-time assistant coach at Alabama in 1996, coaching wide receivers and tight ends for five seasons.
From 2001 to 2003, Swinney was in private business. He then was hired at Clemson, where he coached wide receivers from 2003 to 2006. He was named assistant head coach in 2007. He was named interim head coach and offensive coordinator in October 2008 and two months later became Clemson’s head football coach.
Over the past five seasons, Clemson has compiled a 56-12 record, the most wins in a five-year period in school history. Thirty-six of the victories have come against ACC teams. The 2015 seniors finished their careers with a 46-8 record, including a 29-4 mark in the ACC.
During the 2015 season, Clemson’s 13th win, which came against North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game on 5 December 2016, established a single-season school record for wins in a season.
Also during 2015, Swinney coached Deshaun Watson to a record-setting sophomore season. The quarterback became Clemson’s first Heisman Trophy finalist after becoming the first player in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history to pass for at least 4,000 yards and rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season. Also in 2015, a record 17 players were named to one of three All-ACC teams, including all five starting offensive linemen for the first time in school history.
Each of Clemson’s teams from 2011 to 2015 won 10 or more games, the first time
the Clemson program has done so for five straight seasons. Swinney’s 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons were also noteworthy, with three top-15 final rankings in the polls.
The Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport, which each year serve as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport. The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness, and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Distinguished Service Awards, Medallion Series, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards.
Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.
Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.
By Keith Ayers
Keith Ayers is the Director of Communications at the United States Sports Academy. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.