Clemson’s Dabo Swinney unloads on 'smart a–' fan during call-in radio show: ‘You're part of the problem’

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, a two-time national champion, has heard enough. 

The Tigers are going through a tough season, sitting at 4-4 after a loss to NC State over the weekend. The loss dropped Clemson to 2-4 in the ACC as the program is in the midst of its worst season in over a decade.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney walks onto the field before the college football game between the Clemson Tigers and the University of Miami Hurricanes on Oct. 21, 2023 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

On Monday, a Clemson fan called into the weekly “Tiger Calls” radio show with Swinney and questioned his salary amidst a down year. 


“So, I’m curious. Why are we paying you $11.5 million to go 4-4?” the caller asked Swinney after questioning his coaching hires and calling him arrogant.

“You’re part of the problem, to be honest with you,” Swinney responded.

“The appreciation, the expectation is greater than the appreciation,” he continued. “And that’s the problem. We’ve won 12 10-plus-win seasons in a row. That’s happened three times in 150 years. So if you want to know why, Clemson ain’t sniff a national championship for 35 years. We’ve won two in seven years. And there’s only two other teams that can say that – Georgia and Alabama. OK?

“Is this a bad year? Ya, and it’s my responsibility. Take 100% responsibility for it. But all this bullcrap you’re thinking and all these narratives you read … Listen, man, you can have your opinion all you want. And you can apply for the job. And good luck to you.” 

Dabo Swinney looks on after losing to NC State

Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney looks on following their game against the NC State Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium on Oct. 28, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina. NC State won 24-17. (Lance King/Getty Images)


Swinney went on to lament the lack of appreciation from fans considering the amount of success the program has had under his leadership. 

The Tigers have won double-digit games every year since 2011, winning the national championship in 2016 and 2018.

“And what’s happened at Clemson is we’ve won so much – it used to be the fun is in the winning – now, even when you win, people like you complain, and criticize the coaches, and question everything,” Swinney said. 

“To answer your question, I started as the lowest-paid coach in this freaking business,” Swinney added. “And I’m where I am because I’ve worked my a– off. Every single day. And I ain’t gonna let some smart a– kid get on this phone and create this stuff.

Dabo Swinney shakes hands

Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney during a college football game between the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Oct. 7, 2023 at Clemson Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina. (John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


“So, if you got a problem with that, I don’t care. I work for the board of trustees, the president, and the AD. And if they’re tired of me leading this program all they gotta do is let me know. I’ll go somewhere else where there is an appreciation.” 

Clemson will miss the College Football Playoff for the third consecutive year after playing in the CFP every year from 2016-2021. 

Three of Clemson’s four losses were by one score. 

Joe Morgan is a Sports Reporter for Fox News.

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