Showing off the Tigers-Gamecocks rivalry trophy for the first time in five years, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was fired up before the orange-clad crowd on hand to see the men’s basketball game against Auburn at Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday.
Toward end of his speech, he called senior linebacker Stephone Anthony, who wears jersey number 42. Clemson’s seniors will be aiming for their 42nd win as a class in Orlando, Fla., Swinney noted. When Anthony committed years ago, his reason was: “Clemson’s coming.”
Reaching a crescendo, Swinney’s voice raised with the crowd, finishing with, “Let’s get behind this team one more time and let’s get the band back together. Let’s go to Orlando, and let’s kick Oklahoma’s butt.”
In the minutes before, the Tigers’ coach talked about the on-and-off field success of his seniors – and thanked the fans.
“First of all, it’s good to be state champs once again,” Swinney said. “Y’all deserve this. All the credit belongs to these players. This group of seniors – two things about these seniors: every one of these guys have their degree or will be done, all but two, by December. Four years in a row we’ve been top 10 academically because we’ve had guys that have led and set the standard for the guys walking through the doors.
“These guys have got it done off the field. On the field, they just set the all-time record with 41 wins in four years for a senior class. We all want to say thank you – we went undefeated at home, these last few years, they’ve lost a few games at home their whole career. That’s a great credit to our fans and the environment you give us to play in every week in Death Valley.”