U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) recently praised the Auburn coaching staff for their role in the religious event that drew fierce criticism from an out-of-state anti-religious group.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently challenged an event at Auburn University that was promoted by several of the school’s sports coaches, some of whom baptized students.

Thousands gathered at Auburn for a Unite Auburn event last month. The ostensibly Christian event included participation from head football coach Hugh Freeze, basketball coach Bruce Pearl and baseball coach Butch Thompson.

After the event, Freeze baptized a football player, and Jeremy Napier, chaplain for the Auburn men's basketball team, who was involved in planning the event, baptized several students.

The FFRF, in return, sent a complaint to the school and Gov. Kay Ivey, saying the university’s participation in the event violated the Constitution.

RELATED: ‘We will not be intimidated’: Ivey fires back at FFRF after complaints over college religious activities.

Tuberville, who coached the football team for nearly a decade, appeared on Centerpoint TV, and described his role in drawing the ire of the FFRF while coaching at Auburn.

In 2014, the FFRF sent letters to Auburn, complaining about the school’s football chaplain position. According to Tuberville, even though he left the school in 2008, he was responsible for bringing the chaplain onto the team.  

“I went to Auburn in 1999, and I was the first ever in college football to have a full-time team chaplain,” Tuberville said. “I hired him in 2000. And we started training team chaplains and putting them all over the country.”

“I was attacked weekly by the New York Times and all the liberal newspapers. They hate God. They hate any kind of religion. They don’t like anything to do with trying to help young people in times of need. They don’t want anybody to teach any moral values. And again, we were attacked constantly the whole ten years I was there.”

Tuberville went on to praise the Auburn coaches for their role in promoting and participating in the event, saying others should follow suit.

“I’m glad what Hugh Freeze and Bruce Pearl have done. That was a great night. Again, it’s just something that needs to catch on and needs to go throughout our county.”

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