By Philip Sikes // Athletic Communications
Some coaches treat media events like a headache or a burden. But don’t count Clemson’s Dabo Swinney among them.
Looking more like a kid in a candy shop, Swinney went through a full day at ESPN’s official headquarters as part of the ACC head coaches “Car Wash” in Bristol, Conn., on Monday.
“They’ve got all kind of stuff going on here, it’s crazy to experience,” said Swinney, visiting the Bristol campus for the second time.
His morning began shortly after 10 a.m., and didn’t end until after 3 p.m., with a schedule barely squeezing enough room for a sandwich break at the midway point.
The biggest platform was a live hit on SportsCenter, where he joined hosts Chris McKendry and Jay Crawford to discuss everything from Deshaun Watson’s health to his affinity for postgame dance celebrations.
“I don’t know if I’m the best dancer (among ACC coaches), but I give great effort,” Swinney joked.
A couple of stops were treated to his spot-on impression of his college coach and mentor, Gene Stallings. Nearly each stop throughout the day asked about the dancing.
Notable personalities were omnipresent. Swinney recalled his younger days as a NASCAR follower growing up in Alabama with analyst Ricky Craven, a former Sprint Cup driver. He talked to former Indianapolis Colts GM and current analyst Bill Polian about former Tiger linebacker Kavell Conner, who Polian drafted in 2010. Conner is still in the league with the San Diego Chargers.
He stopped baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian — who noted he once made a trip to cover a Maryland basketball game at Littlejohn Coliseum years ago — after several encounters across the campus halls. It prompted a 10-minute conversation between the two regarding the benefit of youth baseball and playing multiple sports as children. Swinney has coached his sons’ youth baseball teams the last several years.
And then there were selfies. One in front of the original ESPN sign, in the midst of meeting NFL analyst Adam Schefter. The next was in front of a wall that was plastered with a lot of the taglines made famous by various ESPN broadcasters. Swinney took a selfie in front of the “Boo-Yah” spot on the wall, a phrase of course made famous by late SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott.
He did three radio shows and a podcast, before joining former Florida State quarterback turned analyst Danny Kavell for a 10-minute segment that led off the College Football Live broadcast at 2 p.m.
He met with no less than five writers for ESPN.com and Grantland, and finished out his media blitz just shy of 3:30 p.m. He boarded the plane, along with director of athletics Dan Radakovich, football communications director Tim Bourret and three other employees, and headed off for Clemson an hour later.
Exhausting? Maybe. But 30 minutes into the return flight, the Tiger coach was still going on about some of the personalities he met and the things he saw at the Worldwide Leader’s campus.
Just like a kid in a candy shop.
March 14, 2019