Dec. 5, 2008
Head Coach Dabo Swinney: “On behalf of Clemson Athletics, Terry Don Phillips, and President Barker, we are thrilled to accept the invitation to the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl.”
“For me it is a special moment in that my first bowl game as a college coach was in 1993 as a graduate assistant at Alabama and we played in the Gator Bowl versus North Carolina and won the game in a hard-fought battle. Now my first game as a head coach is back in the Gator Bowl against a great opponent in Nebraska.
“We are really excited about it. Jacksonville is a tremendous recruiting base for us. We have a bunch of kids on this team from Jacksonville and a lot of past players from the area.”
“Clemson itself has a great tradition at the Gator Bowl. This is our ninth appearance which is more than any other team that has played in it.
“It is a great honor for us and a great tribute to our team for what they have accomplished over the last seven weeks. When we were a 3-4 football team, we could only dream about a New Year’s Day bowl and for that to be a reality is a very special thing. You have to give all the credit to the players because they got it done.”
“Playing on New Year’s Day goes back to the players. We talked about it on October 13th and set our goals, and this was one of them. We were fighting and clawing to just get a bowl.”
“A New Year’s Day bowl is something special. It separates us from the pack and is a great reward. We will prepare very hard and look forward to coming down to Jacksonville and having a good workweek and enjoying Duval County and all that it has to offer and embracing the traditions of the Gator Bowl and representing Clemson in a first-class way.
“We will probably start practice after the players finish exams; maybe have a day or two that will overlap toward the latter part of next week. The main emphasis right now is on recruiting and getting through exams.”
“This gives us an opportunity to get great exposure for your program. Florida is a state that we have recruited heavily for a long time, in particular Jacksonville. It is a great presence for us and a great opportunity to read about Clemson, see Clemson, hear about Clemson. It is a great opportunity for recruiting.
“I have fortunately been in a lot of bowls. I have had a lot of experience and seen a lot of different ways to approach it and go about your business. I have a good idea of how we will practice, prepare, and meet, but also enjoy the experience. As a player, I remember being able to experience the environment and community and embracing that and the festivities the bowl provides.
“We are going to prepare to win and go to win, but we are also going to enjoy the opportunity to have this experience and enjoy being with each other one more time. This is a special group that has worked very hard and I am glad we have one more opportunity to get together and prepare for an opponent and it is going to be a lot of fun.”
Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips: “We are pleased for this opportunity to participate in a great, traditional bowl in the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl and it is a tremendous thrill.
“On behalf of the president, the board of trustees, and the entire Clemson family, we are delighted and very grateful for this opportunity. It will be fun and our people will thoroughly enjoy it.
“I would like to echo what Coach Swinney said about our team and the coaches. They rallied together and played hard and gave tremendous effort to give our university this opportunity. We are extremely grateful they had the perseverance to fight through tremendous adversity.
“There is no question we have wonderful fan support and are blessed with people that have a passion for this program and they truly love our football program and will follow it. Regardless of how strong your fan base is and how passionate they may be, ultimately you have to perform on the field and have something that will be exciting for the game and that is what is exciting about what Coach Swinney has brought to the program. Under his leadership, our players are playing with the effort they gave and it is to their credit we are in this position.
“The greatest lobbying done for this bowl was by the team. The hardest thing I had to do was pick up the phone when it rang.”
Chair of Selection Committee for Gator Bowl Association Kelly Madden: “We are pleased, on behalf of the Gator Bowl, to extend an invitation to Head Coach Dabo Swinney and Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips to the 64th Annual Konica Minolta Gator Bowl played on New Year’s Day in Jacksonville, Florida.”
“We had many exciting choices for this year’s game. It is exciting to announce Clemson as our ACC home team for the game. As coach said, this will be the ninth appearance, with the first one in 1948, we are glad to have you back. You have had a good record with us and we are very excited.”
“The fans are incredible, the players are incredible, and what they have done under Coach Swinney’s watch since October is impressive. It is exciting to watch the excitement and passion they are playing for under you.”
“We had many good options, but we were excited to select Clemson.”
“I have been involved in the Gator Bowl Association for six years, as said I am immediate past chair and chair of the selection committee, and we have a very specific process that we follow throughout the year watching football looking at candidates.
“At the end of the day, we were blessed to have many options this time around. We looked at many things. We looked at the momentum and passion with which this team finished up the season, four out of the last five games. Clearly, the fan base from both ACC teams would have been fabulous. They both have great following and both would be incredible matchups.
“Putting on a great bowl game and having a great turnout is really important to us. We believe the Clemson fan base will follow their team and support their team like they always do. It is a great game for the fans, for TV, and our sponsors, we hope the Clemson fans, alumni, and team will have a great visit to Jacksonville.
“We had a very long and extensive committee meeting last Monday night. It was the longest in my history, three hours. It was very interesting and very spirited. The great news is we had a lot of dialogue and passionate options on both sides. Both would have been great choices but it came down to momentum that this team has had and the way they finished their season.”
James Norberto of Konica Minolta: “On behalf of our president and CEO and the 8,000 employees that make up Konica Minolta Business Solutions, we want to congratulate you on an incredible finish to your first season Coach Swinney and being part of the 2009 Gator Bowl Classic.”
“To increase our brand awareness and to jazz up the fan base even more, if that is even possible, we are instituting a sweepstakes where we invite the entire nation of Clemson University to go to our sports marketing website (www.kmbssports.com) and answer for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip for two to Jacksonville for the January 1st bowl game.
“The drive that you (Clemson) finished your season with is something we do at Konica Minolta on an everyday basis so we truly feel that this is a perfect marriage.
“We look forward to seeing the entire Clemson fan base on January 1st.”
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