What I Learned From Clemson Football's Winning Culture
Updated: Jan 14, 2019
Nothing has impacted my coaching career more so than my experience at Clemson University. I am well underway in my path to completing my Masters in Youth Development Leadership form Clemson, and am currently undergoing my final research project, which I have been working on for the last year.
I can go on and on about how the Youth Development Leadership Program has impacted my career, but in honor of the recent events of Monday, I want to discuss another opportunity I had in the course of my studies.
Not far into my studies I met a friend of mine, Mike Briglin (Briggs). Mike has an extensive football coaching career in both the youth, high school and college realms. As I pursued my degree, I became closer and closer to Mike. Mike consistently spoke of the culture that was the heart and soul of the Clemson football program.
My curiosity was sparked and I delved deeper and deeper into understanding what little I could of the culture that Dabo Swinney was setting. I was thrilled by the opportunity to explore the program, I was able to watch a practice on field as well as tour their new football facility. Throughout my exposure to the program it became quite clear that culture was engrained in every aspect of the program.
One of the taglines of the Clemson football program is "ALL IN." The idea that there was not an option of partial participation, but a firm understanding that if you were on the team you would act as a teammate and a member of that team in every aspect. Attendance in class, effort on the field and your actions on and off the field were a direct representation of the program and your teammates.
This was a key component of our seasons theme and cheer "All In, All Together, All The Time."
Perhaps the component of the culture that has flooded the news lately is the boldness of the players and coaches in their Faith in Jesus Christ. I have shared multiple interviews on our facebook page from players and coaches, and I highly encourage you to listen to them. This team is truly a testament to how to perform to the best of your ability and give the glory to God.
Building Men of Character.
Most coaches know the In's and Out's and X's and O's of their sports, but great coaches change lives. It is apparent that when you walk in the door of Clemson's training facility, there is more to this sports program than winning games. The coaching staff is dedicated to building men of character, that will go on to be successful whether that involves professional football or not.
Sport As A Platform.
I cannot count the amount of times I have used this phrase. We as a culture look up to athletes and sports teams. Even in high school often times younger athletes and students look up to the star athletes. Athletes, coaches and teams have a choice, how do we use this platform we have been given. Take for example the NFL protests in recent years, the Phoenix Suns protest in 2010 over immigration, and the famous photo from the 68' Olympic Games when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised a fist to protest civil rights struggles. Whether you agree with the protests or not, they made worldwide media and started discussions.
Understanding that sports is a platform can serve to be a valuable tool in God's ultimate plan. I encourage all athletes to ask themselves what they will use their platform for, and it is quite clear that Dabo Swinney and Trevor Lawrence chose to use their platform to spark a discussion on their bold faith in God.
1) Give God the Glory, Thank God for the Opportunity Colossians 3:17
2) All In, All Together, All The Time 1 Corinthians 10:31, Romans 12:11
3) Give Your All, Because He Gave His All John 3:16
4) In All Things You Are Representing Your Team & God
I am so thankful for my opportunity to have experienced what little bit of Clemson's culture I have and for my friendship with Mike Briggs. I can guarantee this won't be the last time you hear about Clemson's culture and if you look at our program I bet you will see some of their culture in our programs!
Coach Jason Lupo