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Dabo Swinney’s first name, explained: How the Clemson coach got his nickname


Dabo Swinney didn’t know his full name until third grade. If not for Scantron standardized testing, there’s no telling how long it would’ve taken him to find out.

“This is honest to God truth,” Swinney said in 2016. “I had no idea my name was even William until like the third grade because of those scantrons.”

Swinney’s gone by Dabo for most of his life because of a mispronunciation by his brother Tripp when they were both small children. His name is well known across the country now as one of the highest-paid and best college football coaches in the land at Clemson. Would Bill/William Swinney have had the same ring to it as a dominant football coach?

It’s totally fair if you’ve arrived at this article not knowing Swinney’s real name or the origin story behind his nickname, since it took Swinney about 10 years of his life to know his own name himself. But we’re here for you with the important facts about the origins of “Dabo.”

MORE: Fun facts you didn’t know about Dabo Swinney

What is Dabo Swinney’s full name?

Dabo Swinney’s full name is William Christopher Swinney.

How did Dabo Swinney get his nickname?

When Swinney was a baby, his older brother Tripp (15 months at the time) tried to refer to his little bro as “that boy.” The pronunciation came out sounding more like “Dabo,” though, and it stuck.

Swinney’s father usually called him Chris, after his middle name, but pretty soon Tripp wasn’t the only one calling him Dabo. 

In 2013, Swinney trademarked his own name. It allows him to work with the Clemson marketing program to sell items with Dabo’s name on them. Ironic, huh? 

What does “Dabo” Swinney’s name mean?

“Dabo” simply is a mispronounced version of “that boy.”

When Swinney was a baby, his older brother Tripp starting referring to him as “that boy.” The only problem was that the 15-month old Tripp ended up saying a word that sounded more like “Dabo.”

The rest is history for Dabo Swinney.




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