Dabo Swinney got an encouraging text from an HBCU coach after Duke loss

Dabo Swinney got a simple but encouraging message from an HBCU coach after Clemson’s loss to Duke.

When Clemson lost to Duke in its season-opener, Dabo Swinney got a text from Norfolk State University head coach Dawson Odums.

Odums’ team, like Clemson and Dabo Swinney, had just lost to team it was supposed to beat. A 33-24 defeat to Division II Virginia State had NSU 0-1 and whispers of Odums on the hot seat.

“I texted Dabo Swinney after their loss to Duke and told him — I know it’s a tough loss,” Odums said during the weekly MEAC media conference. “It’d be one of the toughest things you do. But in adversity, just remember ‘love more.’

It may sound like a sappy, over-simplified message from a coach, but Odums had to practice the same thing as his team prepared to take on archival Hampton University. 

“When you play as bad as we did the first game, you want to blow everything up and, you know, point fingers and do all those things,” Odums said. “But that’s not how life works. Life is about realizing what you didn’t do well and coming back and embracing your opportunity and saying, you know what, I’m going to play better the next time. We gonna coach better, players gonna play better.”

It worked as Norfolk State took down Hampton 31-23 on Saturday to even its record at 1-1. 

Norfolk State University

“We were in a bad space,” Odums admitted. “And that’s when you become really great leaders just understanding how to lead young men through adversity. And they responded. They responded with unbelievable effort, they played inspiring football and that just tells you a lot about this football team. We’re climbing. And like I told them, just keep climbing. We understand we are and we understand how we need to play to be successful.”

Odums reiterated that the season is long and a loss in the opener didn’t have to define the season — if the team didn’t let it. 

“They were out and they were getting beat up daily, but at the end of the day — we control the narrative of what people write,” Odums said. “We’re the authors of our story, so we wanted to change it. We had to go out and find a way to win so that they could talk about something else other than our loss.” 

This week Norfolk State will travel up to Philadelphia to take on Temple University. 

“At the end of the day, we will get 60 minutes. That’s all we talk about. You are guaranteed 60 minutes and at the end of those 60 minutes — if you need more —  they’ll give you more. But usually that story is going to be wrote. What do we want them to write about us is our message. Every week.”

By the way, Dabo Swinney and Clemson won in Week Two, too.

Dabo Swinney got an encouraging text from an HBCU coach after Duke loss
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