Take a look at these three teams (one NFL, one college basketball and one college football) and the difference a new head coach had on the program:
Pre-Vince Lombardi 1950 – 1958 32-74-2 0 championships
Vince Lombardi 1959 – 1967 98-30-4 5 championships
Pre-John Wooden 1921 – 1948 266-279 0 national championships
John Wooden 1948 – 1975 620-147 10 national championships
Pre-Paul Bryant 1955 – 1957 4-24-2 0 national championships
Paul Bryant 1958 – 1982 232-46-9 6 national championships
What was it about Vince Lombardi, John Wooden and Coach Bryant that changed the culture at Green Bay, UCLA and Alabama from one of losing games to one where they were competing for and winning championships? Several years ago best-selling author John Maxwell wrote an article titled Characteristics of Successful Coaches where Maxwell says despite their different personalities and coaching techniques, “great coaches share a common set of characteristics that make them successful”. I think you’ll agree with the points Dr. Maxwell makes. Click HERE for the article.
After you finish Maxwell’s piece, I would encourage you to read a great article Ivan Maisel wrote for ESPN in 2013 about Coach Bryant in honor of what would have been Coach’s 100th birthday (September 11, 2013). Here’s a quote from Coach Saban that’s in the article – “I think the one thing I’ve learned about him (Coach Bryant) that makes me appreciate him more, because it’s something that means a lot to me as a coach, is how many stories his former players tell about lessons that they learned in life. They talk about the discipline, the toughness, and all those kinds of things that really have helped them perservere [through] a lot of circumstances and situations in their life. So that, to me, is the ultimate compliment to a coach.” I had the opportunity to play for Coach Bryant (1971-1974) and he pushed us to be winners on the field (regular season record of 43-1, 4 SEC championships and 1 national championship) and, as Coach Saban said, in life. I understand how important it is to win – if you don’t you won’t keep your job. But I played for a man who won championships and was also concerned with preparing his players for life after their playing days were over. You can do both. Wooden did it at UCLA and Lombardi did it at Green Bay. That, in my opinion, is really what makes a coach “great”. Click HERE for the article.
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