Quotes From The Coach's Notebook


Through almost three decades of coaching, I kept a notebook of thought-provoking and compelling quotes I heard at clinics, from other coaches or read in books.

Most of them were used as an attempt to inspire and motivate athletes and students.

Since the prep football season tips off this evening, I decided it's time to dust off the old notebook and share a few of the reflections I think are worthwhile.


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in time of challenge and controversy."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

Theodore Roosevelt

"The key is not the ‘will to win.' Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important."

Bobby Knight

"The biggest dog has been a pup."

Joaquin Miller

"Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got."

Janis Joplin

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Play like you've got guts coming out of your ears."

Bear Bryant

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."

John Wooden

"In great attempts it is glorious even to fail."

Vince Lombardi

"No one ever drowned in sweat."

Lou Holtz

"Most ballgames are lost not won."

Casey Stengel

"Be courageous. It's one of the only places left uncrowded."

Anita Roddick

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."

Henry Ford

"You play the way you practice."

Pop Warner

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."

Henry Adams

"No coach ever won a game by what he knows; it's what his players have learned."

Bear Bryant

"Failure is the path of least persistence."

Michael Larsen

"Fall seven times, stand up eight."

Japanese proverb

"Always do what you are afraid to do.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When we have a good team at Alabama, I know it's because we have boys who come from good mamas and papas."

Bear Bryant

"Don't let the same dog bite you twice."

Chuck Berry

"If you want a place in the sun, you have to expect a few blisters."

Loretta Young

"If you step on people in life, you're going to come back as a cockroach."

Willie Davis

"The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer."

U.S. Army Special Forces slogan

"There is no greater glory for a man as long as he lives than that which he wins by his own hands and feet."


"The reward of a thing well done is having done it."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food and tyrannize their teachers."


"Failure to prepare is preparing to fail."

John Wooden

And of course, my two favorites are:

"I always turn to the sports page first. The sports page records people's accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man's failures."

Earl Warren

"I quit coaching because of illness and fatigue. The fans were sick and tired of me."

John Ralston

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