Campbell and Swinney’s relationship defined by mutual respect

Nov 27, 2021; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates after defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

There is nothing but respect between Matt Campbell and Dabo Swinney.

That much became blatantly clear on Sunday during a brief teleconference with reporters following the announcement Iowa State and Clemson will square off in the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 29 in Orlando.

“Coach Swinney has been a great resource for me,” Campbell said. “A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to go down to Clemson. I think probably for the young coach that I am, I think you’re always searching for people in our profession that are doing it the right way. They’re leading from the heart. I think for me, it was a transformational experience for myself, because of what I saw when I got to Clemson. I think the kindness and the care and the love and the passion that (Swinney) led with and continues to lead with, I think that was a huge eye opening experience of, ‘Man, you can lead a football program the right way.'”

“I would just say for me, he’s been, from afar, a great mentor, and certainly the time that he’s given to me, throughout my own career, I’ve been greatly appreciative of.”

The connections between the two programs have been widely known for several years ever since defensive coordinator Brent Venables and his staff made a trip to Ames to learn about the Cyclones’ 3-3-5 defensive scheme. The Tigers have molded that scheme for their own use to great success as it helped them win the national championship in 2018.

Swinney and Campbell’s connections go even deeper, though, as a chance encounter at an airport ultimately led to Campbell being the keynote speaker at Clemson’s coaching clinic several years ago.

“The first time I met (Campbell), we were actually crossing paths at an airport,” Swinney said. “I don’t know if he remembers that. But I do, and just was immediately kind of struck with his authenticity and who he is. I’ve admired what he’s done at a place where it’s not easy to go do what he’s done. He’s built an incredible culture there. We just kind of swapped numbers, then, again, they came out to Clemson. Really, from that time on, we’ve just moved from time to time talking to swapping text messages and things like that. Just an incredibly bright coach. A guy that I think really loves the player and is very serious about certainly winning but, winning in a way that that really builds great men through the process.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.