Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney's word for the year: 'Purpose'

Coming off a decisive 44-16 victory over Alabama to win its second national championship in three years, Clemson enters 2019 as college football’s top dog. The Tigers are No. 1 in the rankings, and favored to capture another title behind quarterback Trevor Lawrence and head coach Dabo Swinney.

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Swinney, who’s never been bashful in sharing his faith with the masses, took the podium Monday ahead of his squad’s season opener, which takes place Thursday against Georgia Tech at 8 p.m. in Clemson, S.C. He had previously shared that his word last season was “joy,” so he was asked what his word for this year is.

“My word is ‘purpose’ this year,” Swinney said (17 minutes into the video), “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. And for me, again my purpose as a man, 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. It’s just that simple.”

When discussing “purpose,” he also explained what that means for the whole football program.

“Our purpose as a program is to graduate our players, to give them the tools they need to go be successful and make sure they have a good experience, and to win a championship. And that has not changed since Day 1; it’s been the same,” Swinney said.

To get a second straight championship, Clemson will need to battle through a tough first three weeks. After the Georgia Tech game, the Tigers host No. 12 Texas A&M, then go on the road to face No. 22 Syracuse on Sept. 14.

But through the grind of the season, you can be sure Swinney will be preaching the same message he’s given all his teams.

“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,” he said at the 2018 ACC Football Kickoff.

He later added, “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. 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.”

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