Coach Dabo Swinney has come under some fire over the last month due to his positivity regarding the coronavirus, including his thoughts about the upcoming season. On a video call with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), he came back at the critics who continue to question the role Christianity plays in his program at Clemson.
Back in April of 2014, the Freedom from Religion group filed a complaint with Clemson regarding Swinney and his staff. They claimed that the staff had used “unconstitutional behavior” because they had not created a clear separation between church and state at Clemson, which is a public university.
During the video call Dabo stated:
“I always tell everybody, my job is not to save ’em. My job is to win football games. I’ve come under fire many times from different organizations and things like that because of my faith. They want me to just shut that off and not be a Christian. But God says in Ecclesiastes 3:23, whatever you do, you do it with all your heart as if you’re working for the Lord.”
The call was part of the HUDDLE UP! conference hosted by former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson and his wife, Kirsten. Coach Swinney joined the video call with his wife, Kathleen, along with Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy. This all was streamed live on YouTube.
Tommy Bowden, Swinney’s predecessor, was also open about his faith and drew similar criticism for it. On Wednesday, Swinney fought off the “myths” about himself. Like the one that he requires his players to attend church on a mandatory basis. He did insist he feels responsible to serve the “hearts and souls” of his players, saying,
“If I get a young man that comes to Clemson, and he’s strong in his faith, and he leaves Clemson, and I didn’t help him grow stronger…shame on me. If I get a young man that comes to Clemson, and he doesn’t know anything, or he’s searching, and I don’t cultivate that… Shame on me.”
Swinney also stated that he tries to be transparent during the recruiting process and tries to establish connections with players and their families. Some Clemson players have stated that the head coach’s public displays of faith played a significant role in their college decision.
Rest assured that these statements will raise more of a stir and probably even more criticism, but most Tigers would agree that it has worked for Swinney and the complaints, to this point, have had little to no effect on his program.
That transparency that he’s displayed over the years is a big reason why. Swinney is going to continue letting anybody within the sound of his voice know where he stands on his faith and that’s not something you see very much anymore.