The head coach of the top-ranked college football team and the defending national champions says life isn’t all about sports.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said during his press conference this week he wants his team to focus on one word this year: purpose. But Swinney – whose team is ranked No. 1 in the major polls – defines “purpose” differently than many football fans would.
“My word is ‘purpose’ this year – my purpose as a man, my purpose as a father, my purpose as a husband, and then our purpose as a program. …. And then also helping my staff and my players find and fulfill their purpose.
“[I’m] just really convicted on that. We’ve had a lot of success, I’m going into year 11, but we’ve stayed true to who we are the whole way. … I know what my purpose as a man is, and that’s to glorify God. That’s to be a great husband and father, and it’s to use the game of football to equip young people for life. That’s just that simple.”
Love this from Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.— Jason Romano (@JasonRomano) August 26, 2019
"I know what my purpose as a man is. That's to glorify God, be a great husband and father and use the game of football to equip young people for life." pic.twitter.com/8a3Ex6qVp8
Swinney’s first full year as a head coach was 2009, one year after the Tigers finished 7-6. Since then, they’ve won two national championships and five conference titles. He’s turned Clemson from an average program into a perennial national power.
Clemson defeated Alabama 44-16 last year to finish 15-0 and win the national championship.
“Our purpose as a program is to graduate our players, and to give them the tools that they need to go be successful – to make sure they have a good experience and to win a championship,” he said, referencing last year’s senior class and its 97 percent job placement rate.
“And that has not changed since day one. … Everything is centered and driven by that.”
Swinney never has been shy about discussing his faith. Following last year’s national championship victory, he told a national TV audience, “For me personally, joy comes from focusing on Jesus, others and yourself.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.