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Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney joins Walk-On's as franchisee

The championship-winning coach will help the chain expand into the Carolinas, including his home turf of Clemson.
Walk-On's exterior
Photograph courtesy of Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux

University of Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney is bringing his winning pedigree to the restaurant industry.

The two-time national champion is joining Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux as a franchisee, the chain said Friday. Swinney will help the sports-bar chain expand to the Carolinas as part of a group that includes Pavilion Development Company and existing operator Carolina Eats.

The agreement will bring 15 Walk-On's to North and South Carolina, including to Swinney's home turf of Clemson, where the coach will help promote the brand in the community. 

“Being part of a great sports experience such as Walk-On’s was a no brainer for me as I believe in their core values and their connection to the community,” Swinney said in a statement. Swinney, who walked on to the University of Alabama's football team in 1989, said the chain's story resonated with him. “I am excited to join the Walk-On’s team and help bring that Louisiana flavor and hospitality to more markets across the Carolinas.”

Walk-On's founder and CEO Brandon Landry walked on to the LSU basketball team in 1997 and got the idea for the restaurant while playing there. Athletes are a big part of the chain's branding and marketing, and former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a co-owner.

The Baton Rogue, La.-based chain has more than 60 locations in 10 states and more than 100 in development. It's opening a second office, in Atlanta, to help support its rapid growth.

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