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Clemson coach glorifies Jesus upon winning national title

Clemson University football coach Dabo Swinney (ESPN video screenshot)

Upon winning the college-football championship Monday night to become the first team in modern NCAA history to earn a 15-0 season record, Clemson University coach Dabo Swinney gave the glory to God on national television.

“All the credit, all the glory, goes to the good Lord!” Swinney said.

Swinney had been asked by ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi, “Dabo, there are few coaches in any sport who show more joy than you do. How do you describe the joy of the moment?”

“Well that’s been my word all year, and I tried to be intentional with that, for me personally, joy comes from focusing on Jesus, others and yourself,” Swinney answered.

“There’s so many great coaches that are so deserving of a moment like this that never get the chance to experience it, and to do it once and now to get to do it again,” he added, “it’s a blessing, and it’s just simply the grace of the good Lord to let us experience something like this!”

Swinney also lauded his players, saying: “When you get a young group of people that believe, are passionate, they love each other, they sacrifice, they’re committed to a singleness of purpose, you better look out, great things can happen, and that’s what you saw tonight!”

“Hey listen I hope you get a little hope from us a little inspiration that, hey if we can do it, anybody can do it!” Swinney said.

“I said this two years ago, I mean, you can’t write a Hollywood script like this, only God can do this! And that’s a fact!” he continued. “And people may think I’m crazy or quacky whatever, only God can orchestrate this, no Hollywood producer can write it!”

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Regarding the fascinating script of Swinney’s backstory, National Review provided a glimpse into the coach’s personal history, noting:

His story truly is amazing. The product of a broken home and an alcoholic father, he was a teenager when his family lost their house to foreclosure. Swinney spent his senior year in high school moving from place to place. During his freshman year at Alabama (yes, he’s playing his alma mater), his mother came with him to campus. She had nowhere else to go. So at an age when most young men are enjoying the time of their lives, Swinney was rooming with his mom, sharing a bedroom in a tiny apartment with another student.

Swinney’s public praise of God caught the attention of former NBA star Magic Johnson, who said, “I love Coach Swinney’s interview on ESPN giving glory to God and crediting his players. That was beautiful.”

Monday night’s championship game was no contest, with Clemson pummeling Alabama 44 to 16, as Clemson won its second national title in three years, becoming the first team since Penn in 1897 to finish with a 15-0 record.

Swinney’s stand for God has drawn opposition in the past, specifically from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

In 2014, the group faxed a letter to Clemson, claiming Swinney and his staff were improperly coercing players to accept Christianity.

Swinney denied the group’s allegations, and released a statement indicating he would not back down on his personal views:

Over the past week or two, there has been a lot of discussion of my faith. We have three rules in our program that everybody must follow: (1) players must go to class, (2) they must give a good effort and (3) they must be good citizens. It is as simple as that.

I have recruited and coached players of many different faiths. Players of any faith or no faith at all are welcome in our program. All we require in the recruitment of any player is that he must be a great player at his position, meet the academic requirements, and have good character.

Recruiting is very personal. Recruits and their families want – and deserve – to know who you are as a person, not just what kind of coach you are. I try to be a good example to others, and I work hard to live my life according to my faith.

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