South Carolina team chaplain Adrian Despres had been with the Gamecocks for 17 years. It turns out the 2015 season was his last.
New Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp decided to part ways with Despres, according to a report from The State‘s Ben Breiner.
“Adrian was not retained because Coach Muschamp’s philosophy is to have not just one voice, but multiple voices available to assist with the spiritual development of the student-athletes,” USC athletics spokesman Steve Fink said, according to the report.
Muschamp first revealed the news at a Rotary Club meeting in late March.
“There’s no question being a Christian is very important to me,” Muschamp said. “That’s not something I push on our players. It’s something I make readily available for our players. We don’t have a team pastor. We have a group of people who will come talk to our players at different times. When you narrow things down with one person and they get sideways with a player or two or three or there’s a portion of the team, I think it creates a little bit of an issue.”
The chaplaincy position came under scrutiny last August, per Breiner, when The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter asking for the chaplaincy to be eliminated from the South Carolina football program.