Dabo Swinney's having a rough year.
His once-proud Clemson Tigers are nowhere near the national championship or even ACC title conversation, courtesy of a 4-4 start and 2-4 conference record. That's good for 10th in the ACC.
On Monday, the Clemson football coach appeared to reach his breaking point, courtesy of Tyler from Spartanburg. Swinney sat in on his weekly call-in show, "Tiger Calls," which Clemson promotes as a chance for fans to "have the opportunity to talk directly to their head coach" along with broadcaster Don Munson.
Tyler from Spartanburg took advantage of said opportunity to ask Swinney about his $115 million contract that pays him more than $11 million annually through 2031. Swinney did not appreciate the question, which was presented in contrast to Clemson's poor performance on the football field.
Swinney answered Tyler with his candid thoughts via a lengthy, breathless rant.
Clemson’s Dabo Swinney went on an epic 5-minute rant tonight after ‘Tyler, from Spartanburg’ asked him about his $11.5 million salary and 4-4 season.
“I’m not gonna sit here and let you, I don’t care how much money I make. You’re not gonna talk to me like I’m 12-years old..” pic.twitter.com/XvjhZDUd2m
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) October 31, 2023
"Hey Tyler," Swinney started as he went into his rant. "I've listened to enough of you, Tyler. You can have all your opinions that you want. I don't know how old you are, don't really care. But let me tell you something. We won 11 games last year.
"And you're part of the problem, to be honest with you. Because that is part of the problem. It's people like you — the appreciation, the expectation is greater than the appreciation. 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 wanna know why. Clemson ain't sniffed 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?"
Swinney went on to acknowledge that things aren't great for Clemson football in 2023.
"Is this a bad year? Yeah, and it's my responsibility," he continued. "Take 100 percent responsibility for it.
"But all this bullcrap you're thinking, 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 ya. All right?"
Swinney continued to tout his and Clemson's bonafides in his defense, while pointing out that other coaches also experienced bad years in otherwise winning tenures.
"What's happened at Clemson is — we've won so much — it used to be the fun was in the winning," he said. "Now even when you win, people like you complain and criticize the coaches and question everything. ...
"People like you who just love to destroy people with your comments, all right? I'm sure you've never made any bad decisions. I'm sure you've lived a perfect life. I'm sure you've led a bunch of people.
"So to answer your question, I started as the lowest-paid coach in this freaking business, all right? And I'm where I am because I worked my ass off every single day. And I ain't gonna let some smartass kid get on this phone and create this stuff. So if you've got a problem with that, I don't care."
Swinney does appear to care. He went on for two more minutes, boasting Clemson's accolades in a rant against Tyler from Spartanburg that lasted more the five minutes without pause or interruption.
"I have been a part of failure many times," he said. "But there ain't one thing in my life that I've ever failed at, Ty-ler. Never. All right? Ever."
A this point, Swinney went on to recite his personal résumé before dropping the mic on Tyler.
"I'm not gonna sit here and let you call in — I don't care how much money I make. You ain't gonna talk to me like I'm 12 years old. Gotta be freaking kidding me."
When Swinney was finished — and only when he was completely out of steam — Munson chimed in simply: "Amen." It was a masterclass from Munson in recognizing the moment and allowing Swinney to have his say without interruption.
What — if anything — Tyler from Spartanburg said in response is not clear. The audio on the clip cuts off. Nor is it clear who he is. But it is clear that Tyler has inserted himself into a very weird place in Clemson lore.
As for what's next from Swinney, stay tuned. Clemson hosts No. 12 Notre Dame on Saturday. The way things are going, Swinney isn't likely to be in a great mood for his postgame news conference.