Excellent becomes average, even boring, when it is all you have.  This is sad.  We live in an era of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, LeBron James, the Golden State Warriors, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, and of course, the brilliant head coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Embrace greatness.  Learn from it.  Appreciate it.  You may never see anything like this ever again.  With the college football season concluding, the following are some quotes I captured from Coach Saban during the college football playoffs.

If you are wanting your organization to go to the next level, Coach Saban gives us incredible insight into what being a champion requires.

The following are 18 Leadership Quotes And Lessons On Being A Champion From Nick Saban.  All quotes are from Coach Saban unless otherwise noted.

ESPN College Gameday, January 1st

  • Champions Don’t Waste Failure – “If you don’t waste a failing you (will) learn from the mistakes that you made so you have a chance to improve and face the next challenge.  You never want to waste a failing.”
  • Champions Learn From Other Champions – “The guys I feel like have been the biggest mentors to me, that would be Bill Belichick… Everyone I coached for I learned a lot of lessons about not only coaching but the kind of person you want to be, the kind of leader you want to be, the kind of example you want to set, be someone that other people can emulate, care enough about someone else to teach for their benefit.  All those things I learned I learned from someone else.”

SportsCenter, January 7th

  • Champions Own The Results.  They Never Share Disappointment In Their Teams And Players. – “I never like to share disappointment in the players.”
  • Champions Pay A Higher Price Than Non-Champions – “I’m just trying to get a good night’s sleep.  Dreaming is not even on the agenda.”

ESPN National Championship Coverage,,  January 8th

  • Champions Create A Championship Culture – “I talk a lot throughout the year, and it’s a culture for us, is what it takes to be a champion.”
  • Champions Inspire People To A Higher Standard – “The reason I like coaching is you have an opportunity to inspire other people, other players to a higher standard.”
  • Champions Do Things Non-Champions Don’t – “I want to go on record as saying that in all of college sports I think what Nick Saban has done at Alabama is unlike anything anyone else has ever done and it’s harder than anything anyone else has ever done… I admire them more than any other program.” – UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma
  • The Greatest Champions Learn How To Keep Winning – “It’s easier to win a national championship than to keep winning it.” – Bobby Bowden
  • Champions Are Intimidating – “You’ve got to believe.  There’s not many teams who believe they can beat Alabama.” – Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn
  • Champions Remember The Last Game The Most – “You always remember the last game and the last game last year was a very difficult game.”
  • Champions Are Devastated By Losses – “You feel great when you win.  But the losses are devastating.”

Sports Illustrated, January 15th

  • Champions Care About The Minutest Details – “Everybody in the country knows who Alabama’s DBs coach is, and that’s Nick Saban… If they didn’t let him coach the corners anymore, I think he’d quit.  So I think they’ll let him coach the corners as long as he wants.” – former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt
  • Champions Do Not Delegate Quality Control – “You’re there (on the field during practice) to see the flaws.  You’re a part of quality control.  You’re not depending on somebody else to tell you, ‘This isn’t working anymore.'”
  • Champions Are Constantly Changing – “The game is constantly changing.  So you have to change with it.”
  • Champions Are Never Satisfied – “I’m never satisfied.  My greatest fear professionally is that we might lose the next game.”
  • Champions Want As Many People As Possible To Become Champions As Well – “I want to do the best job I can to help our players have the best opportunity to do that.  I hate the feeling you have when you lose, but I also hate the feeling that you have when you didn’t do a good job for your players.”
  • Champions Are Never Complacent.  They Are Always Desperate. – “When I get to where I don’t feel that way anymore (like he’s going to get fired), I would rather call it quits than to be satisfied watching it go down.”
  • Champions Help You Be More Successful In Life – “I hope you take something from this and the resiliency that you showed in this game helps you be more successful in life.”

What is one thing you learned from Coach Saban which will help you become a champion?

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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