Dabo Swinney: All faiths are welcome

Updated: April 23, 2014, 2:10 PM ET
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday he was "a little caught off guard" by a complaint filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation earlier this month charging him with "unconstitutional behavior" at the public university.

The FFRF contends that Swinney violated the Constitution and university guidelines on hiring chaplains when he invited James Trapp to become the team chaplain. The organization also took issue with the coach's decision to schedule team devotionals and organize transportation to take coaches and players to "church days," and said Swinney gave Trapp access to the entire team for Bible studies.

"We do things the right way and always have," Swinney said on an ACC teleconference Wednesday. "We'll continue to run the program the way we always have.

"Anything that we have in our program from a spiritual standpoint is and always has been voluntary. We're no different than any other program out there in how we operate as far as providing our players opportunities to grow in any aspect of their lives."

Swinney did not comment on the specifics of the complaint.

"I have coached and recruited just about every faith and religion that's out there, or non-religion, and have never had a problem with any of it before," Swinney said. "I am who I am. I'm proud to be a Christian, and by being a Christian, I'm a Christian in everything that I do. People that know me, they know I'm a long way from being perfect. You can ask my players or my wife -- I'm a long way from being perfect, but I do try to live my life with a positive influence on those around me.

"I've never been a guy who's forced anything on anyone. I just am who I am, and I'm proud of how we run our program. The reason I've had success as a coach is because I love my players, and I take great pride in having relationships with my players."

Earlier this month, university spokeswoman Cathy Sams issued a statement saying the school would evaluate the complaints raised but that it believes Swinney and his staff are not violating any laws.

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