The world of sports provides leaders some of their greatest leadership insights.  Sports requires teamwork, preparation, coaching, effort, people skills, overcoming adversity, continual improvement and dealing with winning and losing.  Most importantly, sports provides immediate feedback and measurable results.  Sports is not subjective.  Someone either wins and loses.

23 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From Nick Saban, James Franklin, Mark Richt And Other of college football’s top coaches.  Their thoughts will make you a better leader.

ESPN College Gameday – October 14th

Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban

  • Great Leaders Always Have A Message For Others And Creatively Get It To Them – “I always have a message.  And I want to get the message to our fans and I want to get our message to our players.” – when talking to the media
  • Great Leaders Make Mistakes Too – “Sometimes things come out that I wish didn’t.” – in press conferences
  • Great Leaders Have Great Respect Their Opponents – “You’ve got to give the other team credit.  You’ve got to respect your opponent and you’ve got to play to a high standard all the time.  That’s the challenge.”
  • Great Leaders Are Always Fighting Against The Human Condition – “It’s not the human condition to be that way.  The human condition for everyone is to survive…It wasn’t to be the best you could be.  It wasn’t to win the championship.  That’s special.”
  • The Challenge For Great Leaders Is To Get Others To Be Continually Great – “To get a group of people to be special all the time, in every situation…it’s a real challenge and that’s why people get beat in the Top 10 every week.”



  • Great Leaders Must Properly Evaluate Reality – “We’re not at the point where we can just line up and impose our will on people.” – Miami (FL) head coach Mark Right
  • Great Leaders Help Others Develop A Winning Mindset – “We’re excited about winning.  We’re trying to establishing that mindset and doing the things it takes to win.” – Coach Richt
  • The Road To Positive Results Runs Through Adversity – “A lot of positive things are happening through the adversity we’ve been able to overcome to this point.” – Coach Richt
  • Great Leaders Are Refreshing – “How refreshing is Mark Richt at Miami as head coach?  That was wisdom right there, perspective.” – Kirk Herbstreit
  • Great Leaders Focus On The Present While Also Looking Into The Future – “Our goal is to be 1-0 this week.” – Penn State head coach James Franklin
  • The Road To Success Run Through Continual Improvement – “To be in improvement.  That’s constantly what we’re looking for.  Improvement will lead to success (which) will lead to championships.” – Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh
  • Great Leaders Know There Is Always Something To Improve – “There’s still more out there to improve.” – Coach Harbaugh
  • Great Leaders Do Not Want Or Need Someone Else’s Players – “We got the guys we need.  Our respect, our support, our love, our brotherhood here is not changed by a score.” – Coach Harbaugh

CBS Sports October 14th

  • Great Leaders Value Great Consistency – “I think consistency in performance is the key to success.” – Coach Saban
  • Great Leaders Have Great Intelligence – “He’s about as intelligent a person as I’ve ever been around.” – Coach Saban on Mark Zuckerberg

ESPN College Gameday Octobert 28th

  • The Ability To Execute Is The Differentiator Between Two Equally-Talented Opposing Teams – “They (Ohio State) got talent.  We got talent.  They got speed.  We got speed.  They have good schemes.  We got good schemes.  So it’s going to come down to mental and physical toughness. It’s going to come down to who wants it more and execute. – Coach Franklin
  • Great Leaders Fight Complacency – “Every single team in this league is a challenge.  If you don’t bring your A game, you’ll get beat.” – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney
  • Great Leaders Expect Great Success – “Let’s act like we’ve been there before so we can get back to where we want to be.” – Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly
  • Great Leaders Embrace The Grind Of Preparation And Hard Work – “I’ve got to continue to embrace something’s that really hard and that’s the grind, the preparation, the hard work week-in and week-out.” – Coach Kelly
  • Great Leaders Understand Great Expectations Are Placed Upon Them – “Notre Dame is not better than any other institution but you’re shopping down a different aisle.” – Coach Kelly

FOX PreGame Show October 28th

  • Great Leaders Take Great Pride In Who They Are – “We’re a hardworking team that takes great pride in who we are.  We’re a tough football team playing at a high level (who is) playing a very good team.  Once a foot hits the ball it’s about execution.” – Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer
  • Great Leaders Know Everything Is About Relationships – “Our overall organizational philosophy is everything’s about relationships.  If these player’s know how much we care about them and how much we love them, we have their trust.  Then you can be really demanding of people.  But if you’re going to coach them hard, you’ve got to love them hard as well and that’s what we do.” – Coach Franklin
  • Great Leaders Do Not Focus On Yesterday’s Success – “Last year’s last year.  We’re worried about this season and this game today.” – Coach Franklin

What is one thing you learned from this list which will make you a better leader?

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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