championship win: "For me personally, joy comes from focusing on
By Samuel Smith, CP Reporter
Clemson University head football coach
Dabo Swinney was in a preaching mood following the
Tigers' 44-16 victory against the No. 1-ranked University of
Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship
Game on January 8 in Santa Clara, California.
Following what was his team's second national championship victory in
three years, the 49-year-old didn't mince words about who he
thought was responsible for the blowout victory against his alma
Although freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence picked apart the
Crimson Tide defense on his way to 347 passing yards, three
touchdowns and no interceptions, Swinney believes God was
responsible for orchestrating the Tigers abundant success this
"A guy like me, I said this two years ago, you can't write a Hollywood
script, only God can do this. And that's a fact," Swinney
asserted in a postgame television interview. "People think I'm
crazy or quacky or whatever, but only God can orchestrate this."
Swinney went on to assert that "no Hollywood producer" could write the
script that the Tigers faced as they became the first 15-0 team
in college football history.
"I am just telling you that if I can do it and these Clemson Tigers can
do it, anybody can do it if you have a belief in yourself and
what you are doing and you surround yourself with a bunch of
great young people that are passionate about winning," he
stressed. "And tonight, we conquered a mountain that ain't never
been conquered, with flags on the top. I can't wait to
Clemson tackled a similar mountain in 2017 when the 14-1 Tigers
previously defeated the 14-1 Crimson Tide in that year's
national championship game.
Swinney was also asked in his post-game interview about how he describes
the "joy" he felt in the moment.
"That's been my word [joy] all year and I have tried to be intentional
with that," Swinney said. "For me personally, joy comes from
focusing on Jesus, others and yourself. There are so many great
coaches that are so deserving of a moment like this that never
get the chance to experience it. To get to do it once and now to
get to do it again, it's a blessing. It's simply the grace of
the good Lord to allow us to experience something like this."
"We walked off this field tonight as the first 15-0 team in college
football history," he added. "All the credit and all the glory
goes to the good Lord, No. 1. And No. 2, to these young
Swinney is an unashamed Christian. Before of the season last July, he
opened up about his Christian faith during a press conference
and explained that he was brought up by his parents who taught
him about God. But Swinney explained that it wasn't until he was
16 years old that he came to Christ.
"And that was a game-changer for me," Swinney said, "That's really become
the foundation of my life."
He added that it's
"hard to survive and thrive in this world if you don't have a
19 year old quarterback, Trevor Lawrence explained that he puts his
"identity in what Christ says" and on who God thinks he is and on
what he knows God says he is.
"And we're all going to
experience death and failure and setbacks and disappointments and
cancer and, you know, it's a really difficult world," he stressed.
"And for me, God has always - in my relationship with Christ - He's
given me hope and peace." As the Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association's Decision magazine points out, Swinney was left without
a coaching job for nearly two years when he was in his early 30s
during the early 2000s after an eight-year stint as an assistant
coach at Alabama.
Swinney said he regularly prayed to God about the situation in which he
expressed his strong desire to coach again but also kept his mind
open for the Lord's will to be done.
Swinney, for a time, found himself working as a shopping center leasing
agent until he was hired by the South Carolina-based Clemson to be
the wide receivers coach in 2003.
Six years later, Swinney would become the Tigers head coach. He has
transformed the Clemson football team from being a team known for
losing winnable games to one that has now won two national
championships in three years and is now on the verge of surpassing
Alabama as the gold standard in college football.
After the Tigers and Swinney won the national championship in 2017,
Swinney also issued the same phrase he uttered Monday night: "Only
God can do this."
"The Bible tells us to run in such a way as to win," Swinney said after
his first national championship win in January 2017, according to
Decision magazine. "God creates us to compete. He creates us to win.
It matters. But you've got no chance if you don't do your best.
That's what being 'all-in' is about for us."
Swinney is far from
being the only strong Christian in the Clemson locker room, as is
quarterback standout Trevor Lawrence. Last September,
Lawrence explained that his faith is the "biggest thing" in his
"Football is important to me, obviously, but it is not my life. It's not
the biggest thing in my life, I always say. My faith is," Lawrence
explained in an interview with the Clemson Insider. "So that just
comes from kind of knowing who I am outside of that."
"I just know that no matter how big the situation is, it's not really
going to define me," he added.
As the 19-year-old Lawrence has had to deal with the high expectations
that come with being one of the top quarterback recruits in the
nation, he asserted that "it doesn't really matter" what people
think about him or the way he's playing.
Lawrence explained that he puts his "identity in what Christ says" and on
who God thinks he is and on what he knows God says he is.
"That has definitely been a big thing for me just in my situation knowing
that and having confidence in that," Lawrence said.