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How Clemson’s AD plans to respond if/when Alabama comes to get Dabo Swinney

Clemson’s great, but Bama can be persuasive.

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Alabama vs Clemson Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Someday, probably, Nick Saban won’t coach Alabama anymore. That will require Alabama to appoint another head football coach. There are many good football coaches in the world. One of the best is Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, who is:

  • a member of Alabama’s 1992 national championship team.
  • one of four active FBS head coaches to have won it all in that job.
  • still just 48 years old (Saban is 66).

Is Alabama going to consider Swinney when the time comes? Yeah, probably. He’d be a great hire for anyone, and Alabama is reasonably invested in hiring good coaches.

Clemson’s athletic director has some ideas on how to keep Swinney.

“That’s not something that I think about every night when my head hits the pillow, but certainly whether it’s in football or basketball or baseball or any of our sports, as an AD you have to be ready for some of those things that may come down the path,” Tigers AD Dan Radakovich says, according to the State newspaper in South Carolina.

His plan of action:

“I certainly hope that we’ve been able to demonstrate to Dabo that you can get to the highest level right here at Clemson, and he’s been able to do that. So there’s so many positives about the university. We have a great Board of Trustees. We have an incredible president. We have some alignment going there that has allowed us to do our job, and I think that you don’t find that everywhere, but we have it here. I think that’s a big X factor.”

That seems like a good strategy: Remind Swinney that he’s beaten Alabama for a national title already (and lost to it in two Playoffs, but maybe leave that part out). Maybe talk about the bonkers new football facility you’ve opened up together.

And definitely, definitely remind Swinney that he’s one of the best-paid coaches in college football. The eight-year extension Swinney signed in 2017 carries average annual pay of $6.75 million, which probably doesn’t capture his total income from the job. He’ll be squarely in the top six or seven nationally in pay in 2018 — not as high as Saban, who made more than $11 million in 2017, but pretty high anyway.

Swinney is 101-30 in 10 seasons at Clemson. He’s made three consecutive Playoffs, won the 2016 season’s title, and developed the Tigers into a recruiting power. His program isn’t Bama, but it’s just about the closest thing going to the original.