As college football’s regular season winds down, the coaching speculation begins to heat up, and at least a small portion of that chatter has included – believe it or not – Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.
It has long been assumed the only head coaching job that Swinney might leave Clemson to accept would the job at Alabama, his alma mater.
Alabama coach Nick Saban, who is in his ninth season as head coach of the Crimson Tide, likely won’t be swayed to make a return to coaching ranks of the NFL, where he compiled a 15-17 record in two seasons with the Miami Dolphins prior to taking over in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but might consider a move to a big-time program such as Texas, where the pockets are as deep as the boosters want them to be.
Or, at age 64, Saban may be ready to hang up his whistle for good sooner rather than later, which would open the door for Swinney.
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So would Swinney ponder an offer from his alma mater?
You don’t ever say never.
Dabo Swinney, Clemson coach
“You don’t ever say never,” Swinney told CBS Sports.
This much is certain: When the Alabama job does come open, school officials are bound to have Swinney at or near the top of their list of potential replacements.
Even Clemson University President Jim Clements recently confessed that if he were the president at Alabama and had an opening, Swinney would be his first phone call.
11-0 Clemson’s record this season, which has them ranked No. 1 in the nation
That should come as no surprise. Swinney has guided Clemson to a 72-26 record over seven-plus seasons, a school-record five consecutive 10-win seasons and has his current team undefeated at 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff poll as well as the Associated Press and Coaches polls.
Swinney was a walk-on who eventually earned a scholarship at Alabama and was a member of the Tide’s 1992 national championship team. He played for coach Gene Stallings and later served as an assistant for the Crimson Tide for eight seasons.
Swinney was hired by Tommy Bowden at Clemson in 2003 as a wide receivers coach and eventually replaced Bowden midway through the 2008 season on an interim basis before being named the Tigers’ new head coach at season’s end by then-athletic director Terry Don Phillips.
Alabama is 10-1 this season and ranked No. 2 behind Clemson in the polls.