While he's excited about building a relationship and working with new Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich, Tiger football coach Dabo Swinney says he's "probably bonded at the hip forever" with retiring Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips.
"I certainly wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Terry Don, and I'm going to miss him tremendously," said Swinney. "I hope that I can do a great job and continue to build this program in a way that he will proud of, wherever he is: maybe in an RV somewhere, and he wants to kick back and watch a Clemson game. I want him to be happy with what he sees."
Swinney said he's followed Phillips' lead, and has been supported all the way, in trying to build Clemson's program "the right way."
"We're doing it the right way, with integrity, and that's what Terry Don is all about," said Swinney. "He's a special man. He's always been a behind-the-scenes kind of guy, but I'll tell you, he's one of the smartest men I'll ever work with.
"As I look back now to four years ago, to where we were as a program and where we are now - not just football, but as a program - and it's been quite a journey. I know that Terry Don feels confident about where we are. I think that's maybe the main reason that he's ready to move on, because he feels like he's accomplished his mission."
Swinney said one of the most personally satisfying moments of his career came last December.
"It was so special for me to be able to hand him that ACC Championship trophy last year - something that had eluded him and this place for a long time," Swinney said. "We haven't been perfect, but there have been some really special moments that we've been able to share over these years. We've shared some fun, and it's been good to see him have some fun.
"Terry Don's still going to live here, and we'll still have that opportunity to tap into his wisdom. I know Dan will appreciate that as well - he'll always be a phone call away."