Special day for Swinford
By Kevin Eckleberry
ATHENS – It was a special day for Callaway High’s Dylan Swinford.
Swinford, a student at Callaway High, is a die-hard fan of the University of Georgia football team.
On Wednesday, the Callaway Cavaliers headed to Athens for the Kirby Smart 7-on-7 tournament, and Swinford was able to make the trip.
Callaway defensive coordinator Dusty Hubbard wanted Swinford to have the opportunity to visit the campus, and to meet with the Georgia coaches and players.
With the assistance of the folks at Georgia, including head coach Kirby Smart, that became a reality.
Swinford, who has cerebral palsy, met with Smart, as well as a number of the Georgia players, including former Callaway Cavalier Terry Godwin, who is a junior wide receiver for the Bulldogs.
“I’ve had Dylan in class the last two years,” Hubbard said. “I’ve had him twice per day, and really gotten to know him. He’s a great kid, and he’s a big-time Georgia fan, and a big-time Callaway fan. He’s very knowledgeable. He understands the game. I think it made his day to be able to meet those guys. It meant a lot, and it was great for us to be able to do that for him. And also it was great for Georgia to be able to take some time for him and do some things for him as well.”
Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins was extremely appreciative of the efforts Smart and others at Georgia went through to make it a great day for Swinford.
“I want to say thank you to coach Kirby Smart and the staff at Georgia, for making it a very special day for Dylan,” Wiggins said. “It says a whole lot about a person in coach Smart to spend a little extra time with the young man.”
Swinford attends many of Callaway’s sporting events, and he’s a fixture at Callaway Stadium on game nights during the fall.
“Dylan is a huge football fan,” Wiggins said. “He comes down on the field with us after some games. It’s a cool thing for a young man to be able to experience that.”
Wiggins said that Swinford is a big part of the Callaway football family.
“Every day in the cafeteria, our kids have great interaction with Dylan,” Wiggins said. “He loves Callaway football, and he’s just a part of our team. Our kids take care of him. I think it means a lot to him, and he means a lot to the team.”
On Wednesday in Athens, Smart and a handful of Georgia players stopped by to visit with Swinford.
“Terry (Godwin) really helped us,” Hubbard said. “He got some guys over to meet him, and talk to him, and it made his day. He was smiling from ear to ear.”
Swinford was wearing a Sony Michel jersey, and that is one of the players he got the chance to spend time with.
Hubbard said the Callaway players were there for Swinford throughout the day.
“Our kids did such a good job with him yesterday,” Hubbard said. “He rode the bus with us back-and-forth. They helped take care of him as far as pushing him around and things like that. They just did a great job playing host to him. It was overall a really good day for him.”