June 12, 2012

CLEMSON, SC - Dabo Swinney left no doubt on what his thoughts about Clemson and the ACC are when he spoke with the media Tuesday prior to the start of the Dabo Swinney Football Camp.

"First of all, I'm a football coach. I don't run the university," Swinney said. "I don't want to run the university. If they tell me we are going to play in the Japanese league then I'm going to get the team ready to play. So let me make that clear. My job is to coach the football team and to please Terry Don Phillips, President (James) Barker and the Board of Trustees. Period, the end, that's my job.

"But certainly as the head football coach I have an opinion... We are a thousand percent committed to the ACC and committed to making this the best program and best conference we possibly can.

"It has really been very frustrating (from a recruiting standpoint). I think there has been a lot of irresponsible blogging, reporting or whatever you want to call it (about changing conferences).

"It has been a real distraction."

As for Clemson's footprint in the ACC, Swinney says it makes sense to stay in a conference where it is as strong and stable historically as any conference in the country.

"This is a program that just won an ACC Championship," he said. "We have won it more times than anybody in history. We can fulfill every goal and dream we have as a program right here in this conference. We have a tremendous footprint to recruit in and play in.

"Having said that, every school out there, no matter what conference they are in, has to have its eyes open and pay attention. But what we need to do is take care of our business at Clemson...period."

Swinney says Clemson can achieve its goals in the ACC. Last year, the Tigers peaked at No. 5 in the BCS standings after starting the season 8-0.

"We were not even ranked (to start the season)," he said. "We were not even on the radar and we went to fifth in the country (by October 23). That just goes to show you what we can do in this conference.

"Certainly we have to continue to build our brand from an ACC football standpoint, but this is an outstanding conference and it is a conference that is on the rise. Last year was the first time we had two (ACC) schools in the BCS in the same year.

"It has been very competitive and very balanced. We had 10 bowl teams a couple of years ago. Everybody has beaten each other up. We haven't had a dominant 13-0 or 12-1 team like the SEC has. We are trying to be that type of team in the ACC. If we take care of our business at Clemson, we will have a seat at that table."