'Bear' Bryant's Wisdom Still Relevant


With the state high school football tournament and Central Arizona Youth Football Association playoffs about to kick off, it's time to check in on the thoughts of one of America's finest coaches.

Although Paul "Bear" Bryant died more than 20 years ago, his musings regarding life, leadership, success and football are as meaningful today as they were when he uttered them while coaching the University of Alabama Crimson Tide to six national championships and 13 Southeastern Conference titles.


All football players and coaches, youth league through high school, can benefit from the wisdom of "Bear" Bryant.

Here's a sampling:

  • "You take those little rascals, talk to them good, pat them on the back, let them think they are good and they will go out and beat the biguns."
  • "The idea of molding men means a lot to me."
  • "Sacrifice. Work. Self-discipline. I teach these things, and my boys don't forget them when they leave."
  • "I'm no miracle man, I guarantee nothing but hard work."
  • "The first time you quit, it's hard. The second time, it gets easier. The third time, you don't even think about it."
  • "Losing doesn't make me want to quit. It makes me want to fight that much harder."
  • "It's awfully important to win with humility."
  • "If they don't have a winning attitude, I don't want them."
  • "I always want my players to show class, knock 'em down, pat on the back and run back to the huddle."
  • "There's a lot of blood, sweat and guts between dreams and success."
  • "The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards."
  • "Mamma wanted me to be a preacher. I told her coachin' and preachin' were a lot alike."
  • "There is no sin in not liking to play; it's a mistake for a boy to be there if he doesn't want to be."
  • "The old lessons of work, self-discipline, sacrifice, teamwork, fighting to achieve aren't being taught by many other people than coaches these days."
  • "If you want to coach, you have three rules to follow: One, surround yourself with people who can't live without football. Two, be able to recognize winners, they come in all forms. And three, have a plan for everything -- a plan for being behind 20-0 at half, with the quarterback hurt and the phones dead, with it raining cats and dogs and no rain gear because the equipment man left it at home."
  • "Little things make the difference. Everyone is prepared in the big things, but only the winners perfect the little things."
  • "Great leaders are great teachers."

I'd like to add one of my own that is engraved on a football plaque in my office:

  • "God never gave us a dream without giving us the strength to carry it out."

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