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President Costin congratulates Flames on Fiesta Bowl selection and historic season


I want to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the new Conference USA Champions, the Liberty Flames Football team. Many thanks go to Flames Nation, Athletic Director Ian McCaw, Flames Football Head Coach Jamey Chadwell, our coaching staff, and all our incredible student-athletes who put in the dedication, passion, energy, and sacrifice to make this season an historic success.


In our 50th year of Liberty Football, the Flames not only went undefeated, 13-0, but also secured a championship title victory in our first year as a member of Conference USA. Our Liberty Flames were also Virginia’s first FBS team to win 13 games in a single season. This year, they set the benchmarks for being No. 1 in interceptions on defense and having the No. 1 rushing offense nationally with an FBS-best 39 rushing touchdowns.


Now, our Flames are preparing for their debut in a New Year’s Six bowl, competing in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., against the Oregon Ducks. This is a well-deserved opportunity for Liberty Football and our entire university community. More importantly, this moment on the national stage is an opportunity to showcase what Liberty University represents as we honor God with our platform. I cannot wait to cheer on our young men who take the field on Jan. 1, and I want to encourage anyone who can travel to come early, wear red, and fan the Flames. 


Beyond their incredible athletic ability on the field, I want to acknowledge the resilience of this team in the face of adversity early this season when the Flames suffered the tragic loss of a beloved teammate, Tajh Boyd. The Liberty University community still feels the pain of that loss, and many of our players dedicated their season to Tajh’s memory, bringing him along on their championship journey. They have shown tremendous character, compassion, and resolve by honoring their teammate, rallying together, and lifting one another up in the name of Christ. That is what it means to be a true Champion for Christ. We are continually reminded in Scripture that the grace of God is sufficient for us, and His power is perfected in our weakness (2 Cor. 12: 8-10). When we are weak, He is strong. We know that only Jesus makes triumph possible in the midst of tragedy.


As we celebrate this momentous achievement for Liberty University and reflect upon the 50-year journey that brought us here, I am reminded of the vision of our founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell. He often said that he wanted Liberty University to be to evangelicals what Notre Dame is to Catholics and BYU is to Mormons. He dreamed of a university devoted to the authority of God’s Word, the Great Commission, world-class academics, and top-level athletics. Dr. Falwell looked forward to building a conservative evangelical institution that could compete academically and athletically with anyone. He believed that one day Liberty would play football at the highest level, and today, we proudly witness his vision becoming reality. Often, people ask, “What would Dr. Falwell say if he could see this today?” I love what his son, Chancellor Jonathan Falwell, said so perfectly: “He did see it long before we did.”


Amen. On behalf of the entire university community, I congratulate our Liberty Flames for their incredible accomplishments this season and wish them Godspeed as they prepare for an exciting bowl game. 


Dondi E. Costin, Ph.D.

President, Liberty University 

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