Motivational Posters: Bear Bryant Edition

by Brett & Kate McKay on April 27, 2010 · 41 comments

in A Man's Life, Motivational Posters

Paul “Bear” Bryant was a coaching legend. During his 25 year tenure at the University of Alabama, he was college football’s winningest coach, leading his team to six national championships. As a young man he was tough-he earned his famous nickname by volunteering to wrestle a bear at age 13 and played in a game with a partially broken leg during his time as a college player. He carried this toughness over to his coaching where he demanded excellence of his men on and off the field, and looked dapper while doing it. Losing was not an option, and sweat equity made sure of it. The inspiration he doled out applies not just to football but to the grand game of life.


Check out all the motivational posters from AoM: 

Theodore Roosevelt Edition
George S. Patton Edition
Ernest Hemingway Edition
Winston Churchill Edition (Part I)
Winston Churchill Edition (Part II)
Black History Month Edition
Bear Bryant Edition
Founding Fathers Edition
Band of Brothers Edition
Business Posters from the 1920s and 1930s

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Walt April 27, 2010 at 9:40 pm

As big an Auburn fan as I am (and that’s BIG), you gotta respect the work he did, and his ethics in how he did it all.

Roll Tide, Coach. Beat those Vols. :)

2 Chris Mower April 27, 2010 at 10:12 pm

This was a fun and creative post packed with wisdom from a successful man. I’m especially fond of his quotations on leadership and responsibility.

A true mark of manliness and confidence are letting your team get credit for their hard work and taking responsibility for your own actions.

Love it. Thanks!

3 dagwud April 27, 2010 at 10:32 pm

I look at the 3rd picture down, and think, “Man. What would it have been like if Bear had stayed at Kentucky.” Imagine a basketball AND football powerhouse. The stadium where his teams played is now an open field used by the marching band for practice.

And, yes, as an alumnus, I know the unfortunate history of why he left.

4 Nico B. April 27, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Great set of quotes and pictures.

I especially liked the one on Leadership, it works far and wide beyond football and sports.

5 Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com April 28, 2010 at 3:42 am

GREAT selection of quotes. I’m English so am not aware of the guy but his quotes are great and kind of Churchill like. Love the endurance one.

6 Schmidty - Man Vs. Style April 28, 2010 at 7:03 am

Im Aussie so dont really know him either. but I would definitely say that all the quotes apply to Aussie Rules Football, which I play and might even use a few at the game this weekend :-)

7 Kevin (strongandfit.net) April 28, 2010 at 8:41 am

I LOVE this post! I’m a lifelong Bama fan and I graduated from the University of Alabama.

8 Mark April 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

What a legend! What a leader! What timeless wisdom!

9 Oyaji April 28, 2010 at 10:19 am

Bear Bryant was a dangerous, egotistical axxhole.

Junction City, Texas 1954.

10 Peter Zefo April 28, 2010 at 10:20 am

Roll Tide!

Another great Bear Bryant quote: “I ain’t never been anything but a winner.”

11 Brian April 28, 2010 at 10:42 am

As an Auburn alum I am required by law to say War Damn Eagle here.

Oh and Boooo!

12 Johnny April 28, 2010 at 11:43 am

The “bear” (legend is he gave himself that name and no one can confirm his story) was a constant drunk and a unfaithful to his wife, not a great picture of real manhood. He’s not someone to celebrate, no matter how much he “won” on the field.

Gentleman, manhood must be more than pragmatic results or public persona, it must also be of made of true integrity.

13 Branden April 28, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Thanks for the post, Brett. Yet another reason why this is one of my favorite blogs.

Roll Tide!

14 Dev April 28, 2010 at 1:32 pm

The posts make me feel like a man!!

15 Doug April 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm

As a U of A alumnus, I appreciate the Bear quotes. All the more reason to continue my AoM evangelism.

Thanks, Brett & Kate. Oh, and…

ROLL TIDE!

16 Nick April 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm

These comments about his unfaithfulness and egotism are interesting, how do we deal with the men who did great things and terrible things? Do we respect half of them? Do we discount all the good they did? Do we look at the man as a whole and learn from his mistakes and triumphs?

I would like to hear other’s opinions.

17 Tyler Logan April 28, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Legendary. Love the last one.

18 Chris Mower April 28, 2010 at 3:36 pm

@Nick
I personally have no clue what kind of guy he was off the field, but the fact remains, I think he was packed with wisdom and inspirational ideas, and he lead his team to some amazing victories. I find the remarks posted here inspirational. Chances are, he’s made plenty of “off” remarks as well. His words are still inspirational, which is what this post focuses on.

But what if the accusations are true that he really was an unfaithful, egotistical drunk? Does that mean he didn’t inspire and change lives? No. Does that mean we should discount his accomplishments on the field? No. Does it mean we should forget about his personal life’s failures and put him on a pedestal for being awesome in all regards? No.

So, what to do…

I will look at the guy as a whole which includes his successes and his failures. For some he’ll be remembered as one of the best coaches of all-time and successful man, for others a first-class, heartless jerk. Look at his life, find the inspiration you need (good or bad) and move on. For me, I will remember the inspiring words and his success as a coach, but as a person, I have other heroes that I know have always been good men, full of integrity.

Anybody else? Thoughts?

19 Thornproof April 28, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Nice set of quotes! And, he was a well-dressed man, I wish that more coaches considered their appearance more than they do … especially in football.

20 JT April 28, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Football games aren’t won by great players, they’re won by players who aren’t great but don’t know it

21 Brian April 28, 2010 at 7:21 pm

“There was never a champion who to himself was a good loser. There’s a vast difference between a good sport and a good loser.”

22 Tyler April 29, 2010 at 8:30 am

Yes, he made mistakes but if you ever read his biography that was written before he died, he states that he made the mistakes and tried to rectify them. At the end of your life, you will look at the mistakes you made and try to apologize to those you did wrong. It happens, overall he was a good man and a great coach. I personally think that he made mistakes like the rest of us but he was in the public eye, so his mistakes were magnified. I bet if the public eye was on you, your skeletons would be out.

Roll Tide!!!!

23 Theo April 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Not really sure what makes this guy a hero or even a great man. He led a bunch of kids to win a bunch of meaningless games by scoring a bunch of imaginary points. I bet if he coached a guitar hero team with the same philosophy, no one would care (including me). Sports get way, way too much credit in this society.

24 Gary April 29, 2010 at 6:18 pm

“But what if the accusations are true that he really was an unfaithful, egotistical drunk? Does that mean he didn’t inspire and change lives? No. Does that mean we should discount his accomplishments on the field? No. Does it mean we should forget about his personal life’s failures and put him on a pedestal for being awesome in all regards? No.”

Um…YES. This website preaches that honor and integrity are hughe parts about being a real man. Winning a bunch of football games has nothing to do with your manhood.

25 Ericka April 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I love the quotes. This guy was . . . passionate. I found this very motivational and real to life.

26 Mike April 30, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Where can you buy these!

27 John April 30, 2010 at 7:48 pm

This is possibly the worst choice to represent a MAN. Lowest morals and ethics I’ve ever heard of my entire life. Its wonderful to win as much as he did but I would never sacrifice my standards for it.

28 kc May 1, 2010 at 7:18 am

Shug was a better man…..

29 John May 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Yes, Coach Bryant had his share of faults, like any other man that others look up to (see JFK, MLKJr, etc.). And he coached a game that some see as meaningless, but a lot of what he said and did applies to other facets of life. He was passionate about guiding young men, and passed up a lucrative pro football job and declined to run for elected office to do what he loved. He continues to influence men more almost thirty years after his death.

30 kc May 1, 2010 at 10:18 pm

as I said , Shug was a better man…even if you discount the fact the Shug landed at Normandy,,,while Bryant got out to “coach”,,

Pat Sulliavan sums up the difference:

Samford head coach Pat Sullivan thinks back to his recruitment when he was a hot property as a quarterback coming out of John Carroll Catholic High School.

“Back then it was really different,” he said. “It was unlimited visits and unlimited contact by alumni. My junior year in high school, Alabama and Auburn were recruiting me and there was an (NFL) exhibition game at Legion Field between the Dallas Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs.

“(Auburn assistant) Coach (Gene) Lorendo called and asked if Coach (Ralph ‘Shug’) Jordan came up and took me out to dinner would I go to the ballgame with him. I said, ‘Sure, I’d be honored.’

“The next day, Coach (Clem) Gryska from Alabama called and wanted me to go with Coach (Paul ‘Bear’) Bryant. I told him I already had plans.

“When it came time to go to the ballgame, we met and had dinner. Versal Spalding was taking us to the game and we were going down Graymont Avenue about 30 minutes before kickoff. Two or three blocks from the stadium, it was bumper-to-bumper traffic and we were stopped. The car’s radiator hose busted, so Coach Jordan and I had to get out and we were walking down Graymont Avenue.

“Being kind of intimidated, I didn’t really know what to say walking down Graymont with a bunch of people. About that time, I heard a police escort coming. I turned to Coach Jordan and said, ‘The teams are already here. I wonder who that is?’

“He said, ‘Boy, that’s Coach Bryant. You can either walk with me or ride with him.’”

Sullivan won the 1971 Heisman Trophy – at Auburn.

31 David May 3, 2010 at 9:01 am

Bobby Dodd would’ve been a significantly better choice for this article. While being a great motivator and an exceptional coach, he was, and is, a much better example of what it means to be a man. He was incredibly successful, while still being an honourable man and living according to his principles, not just when it was convenient.

32 tom May 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Well, I see the allbarn punks are on here denigrating a great man who they’re not fit to wipe the boots of. Don’t you aholes think it’s about time you got over all those times Coach Bryant took ol’ Shug to the woodshed. Has it ever occurred to y’all that Shug only had one championship year in 25 years at Moo U. and cheated to get that one. Plus, Shug never won a major bowl. NEVER, and y’all name your stadium after him. What a joke.

33 kc May 6, 2010 at 12:02 am

well, tom, nice to see that shorty price has access to the internet…

btw the last game he coached against Auburn…well you know

and if you want to talk about cheating, let’s do go on…$100k for lineman Means?

34 Mal May 9, 2010 at 1:10 am

I appreciate your website. I found it looking for instruction in how to tie knots on youtube. Thanks for this service. And War Damn Eagle!

35 J. Lynne May 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm

What I find interesting in all of this arguing is that no one has mentioned that while Bear was “the winningest” coach, he also lost the most games ever. It’s a matter of statistics and averages. Really, you have to stop looking at the total number of games he won and compare his average to other coaches averages to figure out who “the winningest” coach is. Really, he’s only “the winningest” because of stamina, longevity, and determination to keep on, keeping on; to not give up or quit or retire or take a sabatical.

As for his personal life, well, I reckon he probably wasn’t the nicest, easiest man to live with, to deal with. Men in power, men under great pressure to succeed, great men in history rarely were saints. Though that’s not an excuse; just an acknowledgement. My first thought, when someone vehmenently crucifies a deceased “role model”, is always “Let ye who is without sin cast the first rock.” After all, the deceased person isn’t around to defend himself so you have to give him a little advantage.

By the way, I found your site thanks to Lifehacker and as a Bama Alumn could not resist stopping in to see what you had to say about Bear Bryant. The polar comments make me feel about 20 years younger and nine states closer to the Bible Belt. It seems as though if you’ve ever lived in or around that state, you likely caught a special syndrome that just won’t let grudges, sore spots, or old rivalries die; for a period of my life, I felt it was safer to simply not talk about Bama college politics (“The Machine”), George Wallace, LSU, the Confederate Flag, the KKK, and the Iron Bowl — which I discovered was the one day in the whole state where “mixed marriages” meant Bama fans married to Auburn fans. ;) Today, when I look on Facebook at all the Alumns from the 90′s I’m shocked at all the people still griping about nitpicky things I’d long ago forgotten about.

The funny thing is that when I arrived in Alabama in 1989, I had no idea who Bear Bryant was; now I can recognize his picture, that hat, with just a glance. And, yes, I do find there’s some inspiration in the belief that you can be “the winningest” simply by staying in the game longer than anyone else; you might lose a lot along the way, make mistakes (big and small), but the rule of averages is that you will win a lot more in the end if you just keep picking yourself up and keep going.

36 Zach May 18, 2010 at 10:49 am

Great posters. Mike, you can make custom posters for printing in this style at http://wigflip.com/automotivator/

37 Rhodes June 26, 2010 at 10:25 pm

@Theo: If you read “Bear’s Boys” by Eli Gold you will find how he used the “meaningless game” to shape the lives of men beyond the gridiron. Not bad for a dirt poor plowboy from Arkansas. I look forward to the book written by leading businessmen, educators, and philanthropists who credit you with instill them with the lessons on determination and dedication that made them successful.

@J.Lynne: Reggie Jackson, Sammy Sosa, and Jose Canseco are in the top five for most career strikeouts. However, Amos Alonzo Stagg is has the most losses (329-190-35) but was at one time the winningest coach. Bear’s record is 323-85-17.

Yes Bear had great personal faults and, as one poster mentioned, tried to rectify what he could when the wisdom of age settled upon him. I do not look for perfection in men. I look for the wheat I can take from their example and resist adding the chaff to my life.

38 Matt June 27, 2010 at 11:14 pm

JFK and MLK had multiple mistresses. Jefferson and Franklin (allegedly) had them. Hemingway was a suicidal(and oft. drunk) nutcake yet we respect these men. All men have flaws.

39 BigTenner August 11, 2010 at 10:56 am

Good article, good idea, BUT, I feel obligation to my alma mater to point this out:

The last quote is NOT Bear Bryant. Coach Duffy Daugherty of the Michigan State Spartans said that quote after the 1966 infamous 10-10 tie with Notre Dame. The game was tied and Notre Dame had the last possession of the game, and opted not to go for the game winning field goal kick. Instead they sat on the ball.

At the press conference afterward, a reporter asked Daughterty what he thought of the tie. Daugherty was known to be humorous and a bit of a charmer, and he said to the reporter, “A tie is like kissing your sister.”

Of course, I could get into how horribly overrated SEC teams are in general, buuuut I won’t fuel the flames. ;)

40 Jeff August 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm

One of the truely great motivator of young men this country has ever had.

Roll Tide!!!!

41 ClayP January 8, 2013 at 11:54 pm

The Bear was s truly great man to be admired by sports fans and non sports fans alike. You may think sports are meaningless, but chances are you never took value in them as you should. Sports teach you values such as dedication, teamwork, respect for authority, and the importance of losing in order to fight harder the next time. But as the Bear knew all too well, these are all lessons in life that are easily translated off of the field. Not only was he one of the greatest coaches, but also one of the greatest mentors in American history. He taught boys to be men and introduced them to the idea of integrity and honor. Nick Saban has perpetuated this idea with great vigor, making him a great man as well. @ BigTenner, I needn’t point out SEC dominance. I only need point out the recent BCS championship game against Notre Dame… Roll Tide!

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