140 Nick Saban Quotes That’ll Inspire You to Move Forward

These Nick Saban quotes will teach you what it takes to be successful, whether you’re moving on your own or in a group.

Nick Saban is considered to be one of the most outstanding college coaches in American football. His contributions led to the success of many individuals that no other coach has ever done in the modern era.

His coaching techniques highlight hard work and dedication as the keys to conquering any battle on the field. He also emphasizes that teamwork and having good leadership is always a win in any team play. Let’s learn more about his love for football as we go through this collection of his best lines.

Let’s get started.

And make sure to read these Bill Belichick quotes.

Best Nick Saban Quotes

1. “What happened yesterday is history. What happens tomorrow is a mystery. What we do today makes a difference—the precious present moment.”

2. “Do what you do and be who you are.”

3. “Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is changing someone’s behavior.”

4. “Becoming a champion is not an easy process. It is done by focusing on what it takes to get there and not on getting there.”

5. “We’re not going to talk about what we’re going to accomplish. We’re going to talk about how we’re going to do it.”

6. “Teaching is the ability to inspire learning.”

7. “Don’t ever miss the opportunity to say, ‘Good job.’”

8. “There is no ‘I’ in team but there is an ‘I’ in win.”

9. “Your character is your accumulation of your thoughts, habits, and priorities on a day-to-day basis.”

10. “Be all you can be in whatever you choose to do. The sky’s the limit, so go for it. And do not create any self-imposed limitations.”

Inspirational Nick Saban Quotes

11. “I want everybody here to know, this is not the end. This is the beginning.”

12. “I think everybody should take the attitude that we’re working to be a champion, that we want to be a champion in everything that we do. Every choice, every decision, everything that we do every day, we want to be a champion.”

13. “It doesn’t matter what you are ranked until the end.”

14. “You must trust, not just believe.”

15. “The number one thing needed to win is mindset.”

16. “We all have anxiety about things. We all have little insecurities, but eventually, you have to face your fears if you want to be successful, and everybody has some fear of failure.”

17. “The opponent should never determine your level of competitive spirit.”

18. “There is no continuum for success. Focus on the process, not the results.”

19. “There are two pains in life. There is the pain of discipline and the pain of disappointment. If you can handle the pain of discipline, then you’ll never have to deal with the pain of disappointment.”

20. “If you expect things to be difficult, it will always be easier to solve problems, overcome adversity, and have an enthusiastic energy about how you go about and enjoy your work.”

21. “You can’t win together if you don’t work together.”

Wise Nick Saban Quotes

22. “Great leaders do not rush to make changes because of failure.”

23. “Do not allow mistakes to go uncorrected.”

24. “It’s not human nature to be great. It’s human nature to survive, to be average and do what you have to do to get by.”

25. “You can’t get from A to Z by passing up B.”

26. “A good process produces good results.”

27. “Sometimes what is best for the individual is not what is best for the team.”

28. “We have to compete within ourselves relative to the determination it takes to be successful.”

29. “I don’t care what you did yesterday. If you’re happy with that, you have bigger problems.”

30. “Mediocre people don’t like high achievers and high achievers don’t like mediocre people.”

31. “I don’t think it’s about who you play, I think it’s about who you are.”

32. “Talent is putting skills into productive use.”

33. “Communicate when there is a miscommunication.”

34. “Character is what you do when no one else is watching.”

35. “Do the right thing. It’s that simple. Do the right thing when the right thing is not popular. Do the right thing when no one else is around. Do the right thing when temptation tells you otherwise. Do the right thing all the time.”

36. “You must decide if the battle is worth your time and effort. In your life, only you can decide what is worth going to battle for, keeping in mind what may be sacrificed in the process.”

Nick Saban Quotes About His Passion for Football

37. “The number one thing on any team that will keep your players from being selfish is respect for the other players.”

38. “Focus on the play like it has a history and a life of its own.”

39. “With your A-game, you can beat anybody; anything less, and they can beat you.”

40. “Anyone who doesn’t win their conference has no business playing in the national championship game.”

41. “The ‘good is enough’ attitude is not what we’re looking for, we have got to use every opportunity to improve individually so we can improve collectively.”

42. “When you play against good people, that’s when you focus your concentration. Your sense of urgency to be disciplined in your execution all become more critical. Sometimes you get away with doing things not quite right against lesser competition, but when you play against real good people that’s when it shows up.”

43. “Don’t forget the fundamentals.”

44. “Live by the creed that a strong work ethic, playing by the rules, and doing things the right way will bring about opportunities for success and, ultimately, happiness.”

45. “Dominant teams rarely are outplayed or outclassed, but they sometimes beat themselves. Just because you are dominant does not mean you are infallible. Remember that dominance does not mean perfection; a lack of focus for even a short period of time can cost you. Do not relax when you are far ahead or dominating your marketplace. That is the time to push even harder.”

46. “So I want everybody to think here for a second. How much does this game mean to you? ‘Cause it if means something to you, you can’t stand still. You understand?”

47. “We have three kinds of guys on our team. We have guys that get it; they play good; they understand how to play winning football. We have some guys that are trying to get it, and they are working hard every day? We are supporting them, and we want the guys that have it to support them. Then we have some guys that don’t get it and don’t know that they don’t get it. We are trying to replace them. We only have a couple left.”

48. “College football is the only game in the country, of any kind, that the college game is longer than the pro game.”

49. “It’s a game that 365 days a year everybody has got to live with the results.”

50. “You play fast. You play strong. You go out there and dominate the man you’re playing against and you make his ass quit. That’s our trademark. That’s our M.O. as a team. That’s what people know us as.”

51. “I don’t throw it as much, as I get older. That’s really what’s hard on those straw hats when you sort of sling them when somebody doesn’t do what they are supposed to do.” 

Nick Saban Quotes on the Importance of Leadership

52. “Great leaders are not always popular.” 

53. “Some of the great leaders in history were not adored but respected. My advice to leaders—stop trying to please everyone and do what you believe is best.”

54. “By definition, a leader is ‘a person who rules or guides or inspires others.’ But that’s not entirely true. A person ‘who rules’ may or may not be a leader, even if he or she is the ruler or manager.” 

55. “People who are role models for the principles and values of the organization, who buy-in and understand the vision of what the organization is trying to accomplish, and have the personality to inspire other people to the vision. You know, that’s what team chemistry and leadership is all about.”

56. “You see, just because you’re in command of a company, a team, or an army battalion, that does not qualify you as a leader. Perhaps you attained that position by experience or success, or maybe you simply outlasted everyone else. Regardless, how you lead defines you as a leader.”

57. “As a leader, you cannot force the opposition to feel they can’t succeed— they will do that on their own. But you can lead your team to such dominance that giving in becomes the opposition’s only solution. Keep on your team to push hard and, eventually, the other team will submit.”

58. “There’s two parts of leadership. You’ve got to be a good leader, you’ve got to be somebody that people want to emulate and care about the other people. But the other guys that you have, have to accept their leadership. They have to respond to it. That’s the chemistry that you never know how that is going to happen.”

59. “To be a great player, you have to affect the entire unit.”

60. “When you have the ability to affect other people and be somebody that somebody wants to emulate, care enough to help somebody else for their benefit, that’s what makes you a good teammate, and that’s what everybody’s looking for.”

Nick Saban Quotes That’ll Help You Aim for Success

61. “Champions are rare. Everybody has some chance, some opportunity to change and improve, but not everybody takes advantage. Be somebody who does.”

62. “The more one emphasizes winning, the less he or she is able to concentrate on what actually causes success.”

63. “Your attitude is critical to success. Having a positive attitude can have a tremendous effect on how you react and respond to challenges, successes, and failures. And attitude is directly affected by expectations.”

64. “Our goal is to work against things we have not seen that we will see in the near future.”

65. “I don’t like to lose. I don’t expect to lose.”

66. “That’s the mentality champions have. Winning on the road in sports or going into a rival company’s region and winning just feels better. Instead of seeing the challenge as We have to, we should see all challenges as we get to.”

67. “Recognize certain traits that seem to be in every champion: passion, commitment, confidence, pride in performance, high standards of excellence, relentlessness, perseverance, and the ability to perform in adverse circumstances.”

68. “Every time you think of winning the national championship—stop. Instead, think of what you have to do to dominate your opponent for 60 minutes.”

69. “We had more skill than you can imagine, at almost every position. But guys didn’t want to put in the effort or to play with toughness and togetherness, and the incredible skills never developed into talent.”

70. “The thing they were most concerned about is that he had a commitment to come back and try to help the team be successful.”

71. “As bad as you think you want to win it. I promise you the guys that go out there and work every day—they want to win it more than that. And I’m going to feel a hell of a lot worse for them than you if they don’t.”

72. “Success doesn’t come from pie-in-the-sky thinking. It’s the result of consciously doing something each day that will add to your overall excellence.”

73. “The formula for success is every guy can make a difference for the entire team in whatever his role is. And to do it right, to get it right, is a critical factor in being successful.”

74. “One thing about championship teams is that they’re resilient. No matter what is thrown at them, no matter how deep the hole, they find a way to bounce back and overcome adversity.”

Nick Saban Quotes That Give You Information About His Coaching Background

75. “In my three decades of coaching, I’ve learned that the process is much more important than the result.”

76. “We create a standard for how we want to do things and everybody’s got to buy into that standard or you really can’t have any team chemistry.”

77. “I’ve always been able to stay focused on trying to recruit good players and trying to develop those players.”

78. “One thing I always tell players is that there are three bad things: nothing good happens after midnight, nothing good happens when you’re around guns unless you’re going hunting, and you don’t want to mess around with women that you don’t know because a lot of times, bad things happen.”

79. “I don’t control what people put on dot-com or anything else. So I’m just telling you there’s no significance, in my opinion, about this, about me, about any interest that I have in anything other than being the coach here.”

80. “In the NFL you get one first-round draft pick if you’re lucky. You couldn’t really outwork anybody else. In college, I could recruit 10 players with first-round talent every year.”

81. “Baseball manager Casey Stengel once quipped, ‘The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided.’”

82. “You all just think that whatever happens we just shit another player, everything’s going to be perfect. All of our fans think that, you all think that, that’s what you write about, that’s the message that you send out there.” 

83. “If it was up to you, we’re six-foot under already. We’re dead and buried and gone, gone.” 

84. “You can’t kick people out of your family. There’s never been a player that I’ve kicked off the team that ever amounted to anything.”

85. “I guess I have to say it, I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.” 

86. “And they ran through our ass like shit through a tin horn, man, and we could not stop them. We could not stop them. Could not stop them.” 

87. “I grew up with the idea that you play good defense, you run the ball, you control vertical field position on special teams and you’re going to win. Whoever rushes the ball for the most yards is going to win the game. You’re not going to win anything now doing that.”

Nick Saban Quotes on Working Together as a Team

88. “A truly unselfish team player does not care who gets credit for success and is willing to take on blame when things don’t go right.”

89. “Teams that play together often end up lucky.”

90. “Get out of yourself and into the team.”

91. “Teams must take ownership for themselves and their personalities.”

92. “Everything you do, you do to the team.”

93. “This is an opportunity for each and every one of those guys to show what they can do.”

94. “When you have something good happen, it’s the special people that can stay focused and keep paying attention to detail, working to get better and not being satisfied with what they have accomplished.”

Profound Nick Saban Quotes About Life That’ll Open Your Eyes

95. “Having skill is not having talent.”

96. “Education does not promise success but makes it easier.”

97. “In life, your road map is knowing what you want to accomplish then committing yourself to doing the things necessary to reach that destination. You cannot get there without hard work and perseverance.”

98. “If you know you will not be perfect, then those mistakes can roll off your shoulders as you move on to the next play. But if perfection is your ideal, those mistakes will cripple you with frustration. So be realistic, understand that you and others will make mistakes, and use those as building blocks for the future.”

99. “The difference between belief and trust can be monumental. We may believe in others, but do we really trust them? To firmly trust people means putting your own successes and health in their hands.”

100. “I think everybody makes mistakes. People do things that they regret.”

101. “They all think they have this illusion of choice. Like I can do whatever I want to do. And you kind of has a younger generation now that doesn’t always get told no, they don’t always get told this is exactly how you need to do it. So they have this illusion that they have all these choices. But the fact of the matter is, if you want to be good, you really don’t have a lot of choices. Because it takes what it takes. You have to do what you have to do to be successful. So you have to make choices and decisions to have the discipline and focus on the process of what you need to do to accomplish your goals.” 

102. “If you get word that a co-worker is saying things about you behind your back, confront him or her about it. If an evaluation of your work is false and biased, challenge it. Doing nothing will only worsen the damage.”

103. “Eliminate the clutter and all the things that are going on outside and focus on the things that you can control with how you sort of go about and take care of your business. That’s something that’s ongoing, and it can never change.”

104. “Unfortunately, we live in a world when the selfish seem to outnumber the unselfish.”

105. “Understand that you can’t control everything, so pick your spots and stand up for what you know and believe is right.”

106. “Be on time because it shows you care.”

107. “The weaker links on a team or in an organization are often the ones who clamor for more credit.”

108. “When you have a system, you kind of get in a routine of what’s important. And then you spend a lot more time on thinking of things that would make it better.”

Nick Saban Quotes Filled With Lessons You Can Apply to Your Day-To-Day Life

109. “When you invest your time, you make a goal and a decision of something that you want to accomplish. Whether it’s to get good grades in school, be a good athlete, be a good person, go down and do some community service, and help somebody who’s in need, whatever it is you choose to do, you’re investing your time in that.”

110. “The roster that we have today may change tomorrow. It is what it is for right now.”

111. “I’m tired of hearing all this talk from people who don’t understand the process of hard work-like little kids in the back seat asking, ‘Are we there yet?’ Get where you’re going one-mile marker at a time.”

112. “No matter what your chosen profession, be prepared for opportunity, and be willing to take it—your destiny may depend on it.”

113. “The process is really what you have to do day in and day out to be successful. We try to define the standard that we want everybody to sort of work toward, adhere to, and do it on a consistent basis. And the things that I talked about before, being responsible for your own self-determination, having a positive attitude, having great work ethic, having discipline to be able to execute on a consistent basis, whatever it is you’re trying to do, those are the things that we try to focus on, and we don’t try to focus as much on the outcomes as we do on being all that you can be.”

114. “Chronic feelings of underappreciation. The players who suffer from the ‘disease of me’ syndrome constantly feel that they are overlooked in praise. We all want to be patted on the back, but some individuals demand constant attention and sulk when they believe, rightly or wrongly, that their skills and efforts are being underappreciated. It leads to jealousy and bad chemistry.”

Funny Nick Saban Quotes to Make You Laugh

115. “Everybody hits me up for eating Little Debbies, but no one passes that cookie jar without taking one.”

116. “If I had a barometer to see whether you were giving effort, or not, it was about 50%.”

117. “I remember how scared to death I was as a little kid of Santa Claus.”

118. “I’ve never considered joining Twitter, nor do I know why anybody would.”

119. “If we just didn’t do that kind of stuff, we wouldn’t have to worry about it.”

120. “We’re still in the information-gathering stage. People like to ask strategic questions about what we’re going to do.”

121. “I want what’s best for our country. I’m not sure I can figure that out.”

122. “The difference nowadays is that when I go on vacation I work some of the time rather than all of the time.”

123. “I asked my priest if it was a sin to play golf on Sunday. And he said, ‘It’s a sin for you to play anytime.’”

124. “I just want everybody to know I’m not conservative. I want to throw the ball all the time.”

125. “The thing that concerns me the most is when I hear that people are making a lot of money a lot of ways except for the athletes, whether it’s on the bowl games, the TV contracts, the conferences, the schools, the coaches, however you want to say it.”

126. “Football is not Hamlet. It’s not tragedy. It should be fun.”

127. “There were no arguments, those are called ass-chewings.”

128. “You’ve been wrong five years in a row and every year we’ve won it, you haven’t picked us. But I’m rooting for you. “

More Nick Saban Quotes That’ll Interest You

129. “I think I’m pretty misunderstood because I’m not just about football.”

130. “Honesty and integrity are an important part of our character, my character.”

131. “I always ask myself the question, ‘Do you like to win, or do you hate to lose?’”

132. “The major by-product of creating a mission statement and vision for you or your organization is that it creates a culture of expectations. If you have clearly defined who you are and where you want to go, then there is no longer any need for debate about it—everyone knows what to expect.”

133. “Your message should be constant. Talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol from an early age and don’t stop. Encourage your employees every day—not simply after successes, but through the tough times as well.”

134. “It’s sometimes difficult for employees to respect individual differences in their co-workers. Often I remind our various staff groups that we treat everyone fairly and honestly—but we don’t treat them all the same.”

135. “So my question to you is, where do you want them to be? Want to condemn them to a life sentence? Or do you want a guy to have his children going to Princeton?”

136. “If you don’t get result-oriented with the kids, you can focus on the things in the process that are important to them being successful.”

137. “In your business and personal life, think of those who are dominant. What do they all have in common? Do you have it in you to be like them?”

138. “Paranoia over being cheated out of one’s rightful share. Along with feeling that they are not appreciated, these individuals are routinely concerned about who gets credit and who gets blamed. No credit given to them is ever enough, and too much offered to a teammate is flat-out wrong. They are concerned not with the team’s success, but with whether they are going to get credit for any success.”

139. “The expectations are what they are here, and we don’t run around talking about them.”

140. “I’m very happy at Alabama. Miss Terry’s very happy at Alabama. This is where we choose to end our career someday.”

What Definition of Success Did You Learn From Nick Saban?

Being successful is not all about winning; neither does it happen overnight. It takes a lot of perseverance and dedication, along with failure, to fulfill one’s dream.

Falling into a slump and facing failure does not make you less of a person because every successful person also faced defeat as you did. It’s about learning from your failures and making it your inspiration to continue. 

We hope this collection was able to help you recognize that you need to live your life at your own pace while striving for success. Always remember that life is not a race, and we all have different timelines.

What do you think about these Nick Saban quotes? Which one is your favorite? Make sure to leave your thoughts with us in the comment below.

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.