Thursday, November 20, 2008

Convincing your team that they're still alive

You've got to admire the attitude and approach of Dabo Swinney, who took over as interim head coach at Clemson last month when the Tigers were 3-3.

After splitting their next four games under Coach Swinney, they still have a shot at a bowl game.

Worn down by a long season full of distractions, Coach Swinney is trying to keep his guys mindful that they're still in very much in the hunt.

He told a story recently to put his point in perspective, using a hypothetical exchange between a sociology professor and three men:

"[The professor asked] 'If people were walking by your casket... what would you want them to say?'

One guy said, ‘I’m a family man and I would want them to say that he was a great family man.’ So he got an A, the professor thought that was a great answer.

Then the next guys said, ‘I want them to know I was very sensitive to economic issues and that he was a great businessman. He got an A for that.

Then the third guy didn’t answer as quickly, but the professor kind of pressed him on it and he said, ‘Well, if it was me laying in that casket, I would hope those people would say, ‘Look at that sucker, he is moving.’ Because I would want life.’

That’s what we got, we have life. We are still moving, you know. That’s the mentality.

There are a lot of other people that have worse situations than this. This is a great opportunity. I’m blessed to get to do what I’m doing. I think it is fair.

I’m getting an opportunity to lead a group of young men and hopefully make a difference in their lives and hopefully make a difference in this program. It is not about me. As I have said many times, I will be fine. I’m going to do the best I can everyday with a great attitude and a great work ethic and that’s all I can do."

[Coincidentally, Coach Swinney turns 40 today. Happy birthday, Coach.]