When Clemson lost to Alabama in January’s national championship game, it didn’t mark the last time Dabo Swinney came up on the short end with Nick Saban.
During his annual ESPN ACC coaches “Car Wash” appearance Monday, “SportsCenter” anchor Hannah Storm asked the Tigers coach if he ever followed through on the friendly bet he and Saban made in a joint interview with her as the loser of the January title game.
Swinney said he did and he gave the backstory behind it, too, which all went down this past St. Patrick’s Day in Boca Grande, Florida.
“We’re all dressed in our green and they invited us to go on with a mutual friend on a little dinner cruise,” Swinney said of the Sabans. “But not knowing if we would be able to get our schedules coordinated, my wife and I we went ahead and bought him a certificate at Temptation, the restaurant, down there in Boca. I bought him a nice certificate.
“So we showed up, we walk in, it’s the first time I had seen him, and I said, ‘All right, let’s get it over with.’ But then he gets mad. (He said), ‘Well, I thought we were going to eat together.’ And I was like, ‘Well, I didn’t know if we would be able to work it out, but hey, I don’t want to owe you and here you go.’”
Saban also didn’t particularly like the note Swinney wrote on the small gift, which hinted that the two would face off against each other again in this upcoming season’s national championship game.
“I had written on there, ‘See you in Tampa next year,’” Swinney said. “Well, then, of course, he starts going, ‘We ain’t going to Tampa, we’re no good.’ The old typical try to make me feel sorry for him. I said, ‘Whatever.’”
Saban and Swinney agreed in January that the bet was that the loser would pay for dinner at their favorite restaurant in the town where both coaches have vacation homes. As they said in that interview, both also go boat riding and golfing together there.
Swinney was a walk-on wide receiver at Alabama from 1990-92. The Pelham, Alabama native was a member of the Crimson Tide’s 1992 national championship team.
(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)
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