After Clemson Tigers head coach kissed the championship trophy Monday night, he had one person to thank: "Only God can do this."
Dabo Swinney, who has called Christianity the foundation of his life, thanked Jesus during a press conference after the Tigers' national championship win over Alabama - his alma mater and the school where his coaching career started.
“All the credit, all the glory, goes to the Good Lord,” he said Monday in a post-game interview. “Well, that’s been my word all year, and I’ve just tried, I’ve tried to be intentional with that... For me, personally, joy comes from focusing on Jesus, others, then yourself."
Swinney, who won the championship two years ago for the first time, proved once again he is a gracious competitor.
“There are so many great coaches that are so deserving of a moment like this and never get the chance to experience it, and to get to do it once and then to get to do it again, it’s a blessing, and it’s just simply the grace of the good Lord to allow us to experience something like this."
And while Alabama's Nick Saban may have experienced the most humiliating loss of his career, Swinney didn't rub it in.
"Listen, Alabama — this is the most amazing champion ever, the University of Alabama and what they’ve done and Coach Saban," he said.
The Tigers head coach, true to his preaching form, ended with an encouraging message.
“Hey listen, I hope that you get a little hope from us and a little inspiration that, hey, if we can do it, anybody can do it. And I mean that. If a guy like me — I said this two year ago — you can’t write a Hollywood script like this. Only God can do this, and that’s a fact. And people may think I’m crazy or quacky or whatever, but only God can orchestrate this. No Hollywood producer can write it."
Swinney's road to head coach was paved with lots of prayers. For nearly two years, in his early 30s, he told the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that he said the same prayer every morning asking God, if it be His will, that he could coach.
A prayer that God answered, and, judging from Swinney's reaction Monday night, has far exceeded his expectations.
“But I’m just telling ya, if I can do it, if these Clemson Tigers can do it, hey, anybody can do it if you have a belief in yourself and what you’re doing and you surround yourself with a bunch of great young people that are passionate about winning," he said, "and tonight, we conquered a mountain that ain’t ever been conquered. The flag’s on the top. And, man, I just can’t wait to celebrate!”