NEW ORLEANS (WIS) - When asked to describe Clemson’s last decade of football, head coach Dabo Swinney thought for a while.
He ultimately chose was “transformative.”
On Monday night, Swinney will try to start the new decade off by repeating as college football’s national champion. If he can pull it off, it’ll just be a continuation of the success he had over the past 10 years.
Clemson spent the last decade winning and winning big. Swinney led the Tigers to 117 victories while suffering just 22 losses during the 2010s. It’s the winningest decade in program history as the Tigers were victorious in 84 percent of their games.
Let’s not forget about the championships. Clemson closed the decade by winning five straight ACC titles and two of the past three national championships. Swinney said, win or lose Monday night, the Tigers have a special place in history.
“Regardless of what happens Monday night, this has been historic,” Swinney said. “Our program and even this team is not going to be defined by a scoreboard on Monday night. If we win, hey, we won 30 in a row and these guys went 15-0 again back-to-back, but, man, it’s been special.”
“Most of all, I think it’s Coach Swinney that doesn’t get content,” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables added. “And he is as relentless as ever. He shows up every day with the same kind of mindset as we do on defense trying to stop somebody on third-and-1. That’s how he shows up every day -- with passion, love, and excitement, with accountability, with discipline. Those are the keys to having sustainable success.”
Here’s bad news for Clemson’s future opponents. The Clemson Express could be gathering speed as they enter the new decade. Dabo and his coaches have reeled in the nation’s number one recruiting class. That’s a bounty of riches for a team that already has a deep and talented roster.
“The good news is this is one of the youngest teams I’ve ever had, Swinney said. “We’ve got 80 freshmen and sophomores out of our 120. So, I think we’ve got a chance to be a better team next year.”
“He’s always looking forward,” Venables said, “and always looking for what’s next and how we can get better.“