On December 31st, I wrote the following – Today, the 2016 college football play-offs begin!  The four teams involved – Alabama Crimson Tide, Ohio State Buckeyes, Clemson Tigers, and Washington Huskies – each have incredible head coaches leading their respective programs.  Earlier today, ESPN College Gameday gave an in-depth look at each game as well as its participants.  Below are the leadership quotes involving Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Dabo Swinney And Chris Peterson.

Before reading, if you are a leader in athletics or business, make sure you get my latest ebook The Leadership of Nick Saban: Timeless Truths From The Incomparable Head Coach Of The Alabama Crimson Tide.  This contains over 400 leadership quotes from Coach Saban on culture, recruiting, success and family.  Now onto today’s insights.

***Bonus*** – Sports Illustrated, December 26th

Make Today Count.  Every Moment Is Important.  Every Meeting Is Important.  Every Speech Is Important.  You Never Know Who Is Watching And Listening.  You Never Know When Today’s Activity May Benefit You. – In 2003, then Utah head coach Urban Meyer was speaking at a high school coaching clinic in New Jersey. One of the attendees was Danny Landberg who became enamored with Meyer.  Landberg would later go on to become head coach of Erasmus Hall High School in New York City.  One of Landberg’s future star players would become 2013 graduate multi-purpose back Curtis Samuel.  With Landberg’s admiration as one of the many reasons, Samuel chose Coach Meyer’s current team Ohio State.  Samuel would become an All-American and score the winning touchdown against Michigan in one of this season’s biggest games.  But it all started with a speech 13 years ago by Coach Meyer.

College Preview December 30th

  • “How do you want to be remembered?  Finish the season.  You got to go earn it.” – FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher’s final words before taking the field against Michigan.

ESPN College Gameday December 31st

  • “It’s never OK to lose a game.” – Saban
  • “I don’t think I’d be a coach if it wasn’t for Coach (Don) James.” – Saban
  • “I’m a game manager and I’ve made mistakes in the past where you get too caught in emotion..Emotion can get in the way.” – Meyer
  • “Don’t fear the critics.  They fight no fight…Out on the field are the doers.” – Meyer
  • “Back in the Florida days I did fear the critics.” – Meyer
  • “You can’t please everyone.  It’s not your job to please everyone.” – Meyer
  • “You have an audience of One -your Creator who makes you do right and you present yourself and you present this program the right way.  And we do.” – Meyer
  • “They’re incredible people.  When I get time with these people I’m mesmerized by their leadership style and try to study them.” – Meyer on spending time with Presidents Bush, Obama, Clinton, and Trump
  •  “It’s his faith.  It’s his family and it is growth.” – Tim Tebow on what drives Coach Meyer
  • “It’s your moment.  Become your moment.” – Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett
  • “He has a unique ability to handle all the little details but see the big picture.  Not many people can do that.  He’s nice.  He’s sincere.  He’s the most honest guy I’ve ever met.  But he’s tough as nails.” – Mack Brown on Chris Peterson
  • “He’s given us the best opportunity to be successful on offense.” – Saban on Jalen Hurts

ESPN Pregame Shows

  • “The same things they did all season long are the things that are going to be important in this particular game.” – Saban
  • “Play one play at a time and have the type of intensity to stay in the game for 60 minutes.” – Saban
  • “It’s an important part of every game – turnover margin.” – Saban
  • “It’s just football…It’s about great effort and mental/physical toughness.” – Swinney’s last words to his team prior to the game.
  • “I’ve got a lot of trust in these guys.” – Meyer
  • “Any good quarterback you have to disrupt them…You have to get them out of their comfort zones.” – Meyer
  • “If you win this one that’s when your life changes.” – Meyer
  • “We are battle tested.  There has been some tough games this year against some very good opponents.” – Meyer
  • “At the end of the day I love my guys and they love each other.  And that’s what it’s all about.” – Swinney

As a BONUS the following are 37 additional insights from today’s ESPN coverage of the national championship game between Alabama and Clemson I captured this evening:

  1. “He’s changed college football.” – Coach Swinney on Coach Saban
  2. “He (Saban) wants perfection.” – former MLB manager Joe Torre
  3. “When you’re at the top there’s a lot of people pulling for you and a lot of people that want to beat you.” – hockey legend Scotty Bowman
  4. “I think what Nick Saban has done at Alabama is unlike anything anyone else has ever done and is harder than anything anybody else has ever done.” – UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma
  5. “I learned so much from coaching with him (Saban) at Cleveland.” – Bill Belichick
  6. “It’s easier to win a national championship than to keep winning it.” – Bobby Bowden
  7. “It’s hard to be consistent that long and it’s hard to have the energy.  The team has the energy you have…He’s (Saban) got to bring energy every Saturday.” – Mack Brown
  8. “Playing at Alabama is bigger than national championships.  National championships are the expectation.” – Eddie Jackson
  9. “You want the guys to have poise.  The less you emphasize outcomes and the more you try to emphasize on what they need to do to be successful, that’s probably the best approach.” – Saban
  10. “How can we focus and execute is what’s going to make the difference.” – Saban
  11. “Once the ball’s kicked it’s like any other game.” – Gus Malzahn
  12. “It’s not about the scoreboard.  It’s about each and every play and that’s where the focus is.” – Jim McElwain on Alabama
  13. “He set a standard for everyone who comes through Clemson.  He’s a champion off the field.” – Swinney on Deshaun Watson
  14. “His consistency in preparation and performance.  His commitment to the program.  His humility and his leadership will be a model for everyone who comes through here.  He’s set the bar high.” – Swinney on Watson
  15. “It’s hardware.  That’s why you play.  It’s the hardware.  They can’t take that away from you.” – Tiger Woods
  16. “Nothing means anything at the end of the if that last trophy ain’t the Stanley Cup Trophy sitting with all the other trophies you have.” – Wayne Gretzky
  17. “It’s just everything, lifting that trophy over my head.” – Jimmie Johnson
  18. “You have the trophy.  You were the best and that’s why it matters.” – Serena Williams
  19. “The journey that we went through to get to that point made it beautiful.” – Kobe Bryant on becoming a champion
  20. “It changed everything.  I no longer looked at it as this heavy weight on my shoulders.” – Steve Young on becoming a champion
  21. “In that moment you’re the best and sometimes that moment is fleeting but you want to be the best.  And lifting that trophy you feel it and you know it.  The world knows it.” – Serena
  22. “When you win it (Stanley Cup) one time you want to win it every year.” – Gretzky
  23. “If you can’t make plays it’s going to be a long night.” – Watson
  24. “It’s a long time since we stood on top of the mountain.  It won’t be 34 years before we return. I promise you that.” – Swinney
  25. “I’m alway about what’s happening right now.  I always say, ‘Be where your feet are.'” – Saban
  26. “The emotion of the game is what it is.  But what you want to do is have the players is be able to focus on what they have to do to execute and not be worried about the hype of the game.” – Saban
  27. “No matter what happens tonight nothing’s going to change what I think about these guys.” – Swinney
  28. “This is game where you keep it simple…Be who we are.” – Swinney
  29. “Make sure the light inside you is a lot brighter than the light on you.” – Swinney
  30. “Be fun.  Enjoy the moment.  This is what you worked on.” – Swinney
  31. “I have great peace because I know we had great preparation.” – Swinney
  32. “When you got a little nerves something great’s about to happen.” – Swinney
  33. “It comes from respect.  You have to earn players’ respect by what you do.” – Saban on gaining trust
  34. “I get a lot of self-gratification from watching players learn, grow, and create a better brand for themselves.” – Saban
  35. “He still coaches like an assistant coach.” – Peyton Manning on Saban
  36. “Football doesn’t owe you anything.  It’s not a fair game.” – Manning
  37. “We have a good plan.  We’ve had a good week of practice.  It’s time to go execute it.” – Saban

My prediction is a Clemson victory 24-10.  Let’s see what happens!

As mentioned above, to receive more leadership insights from Coach Saban, click HERE or on the image to the left for my new ebook The Leadership Of Nick Saban: Timeless Truths From The Incomparable Head Coach Of The Alabama Crimson Tide.  Enjoy!


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