Clemson Tigers football Coach Dabo Swinney quoted the Bible's New Testament during his weekly press conference Tuesday, following his team's 35-14 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday.
As a result, the Tigers fell from #4 to #12 in the AP's weekly Top 25 College Football Rankings.
Swinney told the assembled reporters, "We missed an opportunity, but we have another opportunity this week. And that's the good news for us. Also, we're a better team certainly than what we played the other night. We're 8 and 1, not 5 and 3. And every goal we have is intact."
Swinney, 52, has been the head coach for the Tigers since 2009. His team won the College Football Playoff in 2016 and 2018. The loss to Notre Dame was the worst loss for the team since he came to Clemson.
"I don't grow weary, you know, I grow stronger," he said. "The Bible says that. Galatians 6:9 says, 'Do not grow weary from doing what is right and good for, at the appropriate time, you will reap a harvest of blessing if you don't give up."
"That's the big thing," he continued. "And I've lived that my whole life – I don't grow weary, I grow stronger. I'm excited about having a good Tuesday practice today and ain't nothing gonna steal my joy."
"And I'm going to do everything I can to not let the joy be taken out of it for this football team," the coach continued. "And if people can't get on board with that, then they're missing a lot of opportunity. If you're only going to be happy if we win the national championship, then you're gonna spend a lot of years down in the dumps in the gutter. They went 35 years without winning one here. You're missing out on a lot of fun, that's all I can tell you."
Swinney pointed out it's how good teams respond after losing that's what's important and listed several examples of teams who had lost and learned.
"You have to have the right perspective as you go back to work," he said. "Because, if you don't, then those bad moments define you. You can't let it do that. You've got to let it develop into what you're capable of being as a team and as an individual player. That's what good teams do."
Swinney noted it's all about the right perspective, especially "since these kids today, the world can get in them and paralyze them because there's so much negativity and criticism and things like that. So you've got to help them have the right perspective as they get back to work."
"You Can't Let Things Steal Your Joy"
"And have some fun doing it," Swinney explained. "You can't let things steal your joy. You just can't. I think there's just too many people in this profession, coaches, and players, that allow that. You know their joy is defined by what happens on a scoreboard. And I think that's just not a good thing. That's not healthy for anyone."
"My joy's not defined by that," he said. "I love what I do. I love these guys. I love this team. You know my joy is just in doing what I do. I hurt and they hurt, but you can't let the hurt be greater than the hope, right? It's a new day. You wake up. We all have challenges. We all have setbacks. We all have disappointment. And you go back to work."
Negativity and Social Media
Swinney also reflected on the negativity that's been created by social media.
"We've had one undefeated team since I've been the head coach. That's it," he said. "So I just think we're at a place now where you lose a game, and people lose their minds – just absolutely lose their minds, and they lose all their joy. And they hate everybody, and 'you need to fire everybody,' and 'you need to get rid of every player.' And it's such a negative thing that's been created with this world of social media. And it's sad. And I don't buy into that."
The Clemson coach noted it's important for his team to enjoy what they are doing and to keep on growing.
"I think it's important for me as the leader of this program and these young souls and hearts that are in front of me to make sure that we help them take ownership, that we all take ownership, but learn and grow and keep striving," he said. "It's fun. The good news is it wasn't the end of our season."
"The main thing is just not growing weary," Swinney said. "Just keep growing stronger. And if you do that we're going to have a lot more good days than bad days. That's for sure."
During his time at Clemson, Swinney has been outspoken about his Christian faith. Several fans responded to the coach's comments on a video of the press conference posted to YouTube.
"What a class act!" one user said. "I'm a ND fan and I watched Coach Swinney meet Coach Freemen at mid field after the game and even after a gut wrenching loss you could tell he was speaking life into Coach Freemen. He could have easily shook his hand and run off but he didn't. He put himself to the side and spoke into a young Coach. No wonder Clemson is back to being an elite program with a Coach like him at the helm. I hope that Coach Freemen can be like him as well."
Another user commented, "'You can't let things steal your joy.' Wow. Words of life, not just football. This is such a negative world now, and this sentence carries more weight for young people than we could ever comprehend. And this rolled off his tongue as naturally as saying 'hello'. This man is a life coach and that is why his players develop. Why his teams win. Why he is who he is."