Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Friend Dabo Swinney Featured on FCA Magazine Cover as Clemson Takes on Louisville This Saturday
Swinney Says FCA Is on the ‘Front Lines With Our Young People Spreading the Good News About the Peace and Hope That Can Only Come from a Relationship with Jesus Christ’
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—College football fans are in for a treat this weekend, when the Clemson Tigers and Louisville Cardinals meet up in Kentucky for a nationally televised match-up on Saturday night. After all, the reigning national champs are the ones to watch.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has been a longtime friend of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) and is featured on the cover of the current FCA Magazine. The September/October feature story opens with Swinney’s words to ESPN after his team’s epic 35-31 win over Alabama in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. And those words revealed perhaps more about who he is as a man than who he is as a coach.
With 74,512 fans crammed into Raymond James Stadium and some 26 million more watching on TV, Swinney said: “Only God can do this. If anybody thinks anything different, they’re really missing it. This is nothing that I’ve done. Truly, only God can write a script like this.”
The new FCA Magazine story recounts how Swinney became one of the top coaches in the game since bringing Clemson its first national championship football trophy in 35 years.
“As great as that moment was in Tampa,” Swinney told FCA, “it pales in comparison to the journey it took to get there. It’s always how you get there.”
Added FCA Magazine editor Clay Meyer, “Football fans may watch Clemson games, read about Dabo Swinney and think he’s on top of the world. And, at times, he is. But his childhood was not easy, coming from a broken home and struggling with a difficult relationship with his father. But throughout the difficulties that no young man should face, Swinney found peace in Jesus. He began attending an FCA Huddle at his Alabama high school, and in 1986, gave his life to the Lord after attending an FCA meeting. Jesus never promised that the life of the Christian would be easy, but today, Dabo Swinney puts his faith in Christ in all things, and we are honored to feature his story in FCA Magazine.”
After Swinney—who was nicknamed “Dabo” because of the sound his 17-month-old brother made when referring to him as “that boy”—gave his life to Christ, his eternity in heaven was secured, but his life circumstances didn’t change.
“In fact, they got worse,” Swinney says. “But I had this peace and this hope for a better future that I never had. My spirit changed, my attitude changed, the way I perceived things changed. I was certainly a long way from perfect, but I knew there was a purpose for my life because I met the Creator of my life.”
FCA’s feature on Swinney highlights his time playing college football, his forgiveness of and reconciliation with his father, and his stellar coaching career thus far. In eight full seasons at the helm at Clemson, he’s led the Tigers to eight straight bowl games, two straight College Football Playoffs and National Championship Games, and the school’s first title since 1981.
And Swinney gives all the glory to God.
“I think God has honored the way we’ve done things,” he says. “I believe that with all my heart. That’s why I said what I said: ‘Only God can do this.’ We serve a big God—big, powerful—and He’s real, and I know that. To experience what I’ve experienced is surreal, but it’s comforting because I know that He is. I know He loves us. We’re imperfect people, but I know God has a plan, and I just try to live my life in a way that can hopefully be an encouragement to others.”
Today, Swinney has told FCA, he has ups and downs like everyone else, but has the “true peace, happiness and hope that can only come from having a solid spiritual foundation in knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior.”
Swinney has also said of the 62-year-old international sports ministry: “FCA is important because it is on the front lines with our young people spreading the good news about the peace and hope that can only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
In 2014, Swinney was named the 2014 FCA Grant Teaff Coach of the Year Award recipient, one of many coaching and character honors he’s been bestowed. Named after Grant Teaff, former Baylor University coach and Trustee Emeritus of the FCA Board of Trustees, the award recognizes a football coach who exemplifies Christian principles and who is involved in FCA.
Read more about FCA here. For more information about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.
To interview a representative from Fellowship of Christian Athletes, contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton, 610-584-1096, ext. 102.