Since the win against South Carolina, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s life has consisted of a string of recruiting visits and public appearances ending Thursday with an oink, a crash and “the biggest noise you ever heard.”
Upon leaving Thursday’s Home Depot College Football Awards show in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Swinney’s vehicle was sideswiped en route to the Orlando airport. Along with Swinney, the SUV contained All-America defensive end Vic Beasley and four members of the athletics staff.
Defensive assistant coach Marion Hobby was at the wheel of the SUV when a smaller car knocked them off the road and sped away. Swinney was angered by the sideswipe.
“I’m on the phone, and I’m like, ‘That car is coming over!’ ” Swinney said Friday. “It just comes over and just smashes into us.
“The car kind of slows down and then he takes off. The Alabama came out in me and I said, ‘let’s go get that sucker.’ Let’s go. If I’d been driving, we would have gone.”
Hobby calmed the coach down, but Swinney “was a little frustrated we didn’t go get that tag number.”
Nobody was injured and the group reached its charter airplane, but that wasn’t the final incident en route to the Upstate – the group’s plane blew a tire upon landing at Pickens County Airport.
The flight was uneventful, but upon arriving shortly after midnight, Swinney said, “It was like this biggest noise you ever heard. We had a complete blowout of our right tire – literally nothing but metal. It was an awful sound. We were OK, but we knew something wasn’t right.”
It wasn’t all harrowing accidents on the road for Swinney. The Clemson coach smiled as he described a visit to a prospect’s home, where he met a pet pig named “Jules.”
“Dadgummest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. “I fed grapes to the pig.”