Dabo’s World: The Life and Career of Coach Swinney and the Rise of Clemson Football

Lars Anderson. Grand Central, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5387-5343-9
Anderson (Chasing the Bear), a senior writer at Bleacher Report, provides another fascinating dive into the vicissitudes of college football through a close examination of the life of Dabo Swinney, who, as the Clemson Tigers’ head coach since 2009, led them to two national championships. Swinney’s remarkable rise was anything but inevitable; Anderson’s most memorable sections present his difficult childhood in Alabama in the ’70s, where he grew up with an alcoholic father and “spent many nights... sitting on the roof of his house waiting for the yelling and banging inside to stop.” His persistence in the face of adversity led to surprising success as an athlete in high school and, later, a spot on the University of Alabama’s football roster as a walk-on, a tenure that included a championship in 1992. A year later, he nabbed an assistant coach position with the Crimson Tide, and in 2002, became a wide receivers coach at Clemson. After his elevation to head coach, he tirelessly worked to create a “family atmosphere” for his players, as “fostering tight relationships... was paramount.” While the tone is overwhelmingly positive, Anderson doesn’t avoid addressing controversial aspects within Swinney’s career, such as his contentious comments about the coronavirus and the murder of George Floyd. This is a must-read for passionate followers of the Clemson Tigers. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/09/2021
Release date: 09/14/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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