CHARLOTTE — Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney closed the 2018 ACC Football Kickoff with a sermon during his press conference from the Westin Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C.
Swinney was asked why the first thing he did after winning the national championship was to talk about his faith.
Swinney: “About my faith? Man, that’s the easiest question I’ve had all day. Well, I mean, to me, that’s just the priorities of my life. That’s just my — I think that I made a decision when I was 16 — I grew up in a family that I was taught there was a God and all that, but I didn’t really have a relationship with Christ until I was 16. And that was a game changer for me. That’s really become the foundation of my life.
“And me personally, I don’t really — it’s hard to survive and thrive in this world if you don’t have a spiritual foundation and have something that you can — that will give you peace, because life is hard, and we’re all going to experience death and failure and setbacks and disappointments and cancer and — it’s just a really difficult world.
“For me, God is always — and my relationship with Christ, he’s given me hope and peace, and I love Jeremiah 29:11, for I know the plans I have for you. That’s kind of been a life verse for me. It says to give you hope in the future. There are plans for good, not disaster. And so, I’ve always taken that, and I’ve kind of applied that to my life along my journey. Everybody sees me now and I’m the head coach at Clemson and this and that, but my life hasn’t always been this way. I’ve always used that as — to me, if there’s really hope in the future, then there’s power in the present to deal with whatever mess you’re dealing with in your life, to step through, to hang in there, to persevere, to continue to believe in something, and that’s what my relationship with Christ did for me. It gave me a hope and a belief — the ability to have a hope and a belief beyond my circumstances.
“It’s probably the greatest accomplishment that I have had to this point is to see my three sons come to know Christ and to know him as their Lord and savior. But those are personal decisions that people have to make, but it’s just how I choose to live my life. Trust me, people that know me know I ain’t perfect, but I do try to live my life in a way that hopefully can be pleasing to my maker because I know I’m going to meet him one day, and he’s not going to pat me on the back and talk about how many wins I had or how many Coach of the Year trophies we got or how much money I made. I really think he’s going to hold me accountable to how I took advantage of the opportunity and the blessings that he gave me, the impact that I had on young people, the type of men that we develop through a game.”