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After Eight Years, Coach Kennedy Takes a Knee on High School Football Field

Last year, Coach Joseph Kennedy made national news when he won a major religious liberty case at the United States Supreme Court after a seven-year legal battle that was the result of his commitment to say a short private prayer of thanks at the end of each football game that he coached. After the Supreme Court’s ruling, he returned to coaching earlier this year and has finally been able to pray again at the end of a game.

Roughly 1,000 people showed up to witness this monumental prayer, including around two dozen members of the media. Fans from both sides cheered as Coach Kennedy knelt for a brief prayer at the 50-yard line.

“We finished the race and we did it together and there’s nothing better than keeping the faith throughout that,” Kennedy said, standing with his wife on the football field after the game.

“Everything was an answered prayer. There was a perfect amount of people that showed up. The weather was perfect. The opposing team was tough. The fans were incredible. My team played spectacularly. I couldn’t have asked for a better return. I — I’m just so thankful in every way, shape, and form. It was amazing,” he shared in an interview.

While he valued the chance to return to coaching and pray one more time on the field, Coach Kennedy announced on September 6th that he is stepping down from his position as coach.

“I believe I can best continue to advocate for constitutional freedom and religious liberty by working from outside the school system, so that is what I will do. I will continue to work to help people understand and embrace the historic ruling at the heart of our case. As a result of our case, we all have more freedom, not less. That should be celebrated and not disrespected,” Kennedy said in a press release announcing his decision.

To hear Coach Kennedy’s full story, you can watch his keynote address at NC Family’s 2023 Greenville Dinner.


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