2017 NCAA Divison I Champion Dabo Sweeney takes little league coaching seriously


Dabo Sweeney is at the top of his profession and in a little more than a month coach Sweeney’s 13-and-under travel team will circulate the practice schedule and start workouts for the spring season.

Coach Swinney, whose day job is leading the Clemson Tigers to the national championship, pours just as much energy and heart into little league coaching as he does coaching football. He looks the same, acts the same and coaches the same as he does football.

Swinney understands the age and skill level of his players, and can modify his approach to fit the younger audience.  He never says a word to an umpire, ever. As intense as he is on the football field, he has a really nice patience and demeanor with these kids on the baseball field. Swinney is not some figurehead little league coach. He makes almost all the Orange Crush practices – he sets the schedule, and tailors it around his Clemson duties – and devotes several weekends to coaching tournaments.

Swinney has a file cabinet that contains every lineup card and every box score from every Crush game.  This is actually Swinney’s second Orange Crush stint – he coached his older sons, Will and Drew, a few years ago. Then he got the coaching staff back together and formed “Baby Crush or Crush 2.0. to coach his son Clay, and his Orange Crush teammates.

Dabo tries to be a regular little-league coach. He does not take himself or his job as seriously as so many others in his profession.

Dabo made a decision a long time ago that he was not going to be defined by a scoreboard. One of his core values is to have a ton of fun along the way.

There aren’t many college football coaches like Dabo Swinney, and that’s too bad. The sport could use a few more.



January 11, 2017