After leading the Clemson Tigers to an undefeated season, Dabo Swinney has been named the AP Coach of the Year. Most people weren’t sure what the defense would look like this year after losing a ton of talent to the NFL, but Swinney and defensive coordinator Brent Venables got this team where it needed to be in that regard and made the defense an elite unit again.
Swinney received 35 of 60 votes from the AP Top 25 media panel. Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz was second with 10. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and Houston’s Tom Herman each received five votes. Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops received three votes and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly and Florida’s Jim McElwain each had one.
”I am very honored to receive the AP National Coach of the Year award,” Swinney said in a statement to the AP on Monday. ”Football is a great team sport and any individual honor is a result of having a great group of players and staff. I am blessed to have student-athletes and coaches that believe in what we do. This award is a reflection of their hard work and commitment.”
Swinney becomes the first Clemson coach to win the award and the first ACC coach since 2006 when Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe won it. The Tigers are the top seed in the college football playoffs and ACC Championship Game winners and will face Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.