45th Annual Angelo Football Clinic

If anyone knows that “success is momentary” it’s a coach who must continue to find ways to stay on top.

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban – who in 22 years of coaching at major colleges has a 223-62-1 record (78 percent) – spoke Wednesday, June 13, 2018, at the Angelo Football Clinic at Angelo State’s Junell Center.

Saban has won six national championships, tied with legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant for the most in the modern era. He has done it in a shorter amount of time and at a time when, Saban said, “football is under attack.”

It’s a matter of never being too satisfied to continue working hard, Saban said.

“Success is uncommon and people have to make a special commitment to principles and values of the organization: the standard,” Saban said. “The standard has to come before your feelings. Success is momentary, it’s not a continuum.

“Players, coaches, have to understand, have to keep actually trying to find a better way to do things, to develop players, to recruit players, to have a better program, to create value for the players towards personal development and academic support and the success they have on the field. All these things are critical to having a great program and to continue to have a great program.”

The 2017 season illustrated what goes into maintaining that standard in what is arguably the toughest collegiate athletic conference in college football, the Southeastern Conference.

Alabama started the season No. 1 in both the AP and coaches poll for the second consecutive year but lost to state rival No. 6 Auburn in the Iron Bowl. The Crimson Tide were selected to the College Football Playoff for the fourth consecutive year but as the No. 4 seed, where Alabama faced No. 1 seed Clemson.

In the rematch of the previous two national championship games, Alabama avenged 2016’s only loss to Clemson, winning 24-6. It took overtime to beat No. 3 seeded Georgia – another SEC team — in the national championship.

“People ask me all the time, ‘How do you stay motivated?’” Saban said with a shrug. “I just hate to lose. You’ve just got to keep on keeping on, or try to.”

Saban, a former defensive coordinator, spoke to the high school and other coaches about running the 3-4 defense to attack the spread and also about coaching today’s athletes.

In preparing his presentation, he said he was reminded again of how important Texas high school football is to the whole scheme of college football.

“I was looking at the training film for what I’m going to talk about today and I kept seeing all these guys from Texas in the films, and it made me realize what a great job they do, how many great players there are in this state, what a great job the coaches do in promoting, addressing and caring about the players, and to teach them and inspire them to play,” Saban said.

He has spoken at the clinic five times, the last being in 2013.

One year, it took “an act of Congress” to be allowed to come to San Angelo, Saban said.

In 1987, Saban had just been hired away from Michigan State by the Houston Oilers and then-coach Jerry Glanville, who had a policy against his coaches speaking at clinics. Saban, however, had committed to speak before taking the Houston job so was eventually allowed to fulfill his verbal commitment.

“To come here and have the opportunity to engage with some of (the coaches) for professional growth and development: I’ll probably learn more today than they will. It’s always a pleasure to be here,” Saban said.