Staying On Top Is Hard

I remember when my father had just finished his 14th straight 10-win season (from 1987 – 2000) and Top 5 finish in college football. He made the statement, “The hardest part is not getting to the top, it’s staying on top.”  I think that anybody who has ever coached can appreciate this statement.

Once you get on top, you have to take everybody’s best shot. Many times average teams play their best, when they play “the” best. The pain of a season going bad can be can be minimized or diminished by upsetting a highly ranked team. While I never experienced the consistent high level of success my father had, I was fortunate to never have had a losing season as a head coach. This is why I have so much respect for what Nick Saban has accomplished at Alabama.

Since 2008 he has won over 10 games a year, add a 10 plus win season this year, and it will make 9 ten win seasons in a row.  To have his team perform at such a high level of success, week after week and year after year is truly remarkable.

Now look at Mark Dantonio, the head coach at Michigan State. After winning 11 games in 2010 and 2011, he won 7 games in 2012. He followed with 3 more 10 plus win seasons, then this year’s sits at 2-7, assuring the Spartans of a losing season.

Urban Meyer, the head coach at Ohio State, has had 4 straight 10 plus win seasons, and at 8-1, will probably have a fifth straight after this year.

You might say, well Alabama has a lot of great players. True…but you can mess up good players.  I’ve done it several times myself. You still have to motivate them to perform at the peak of their ability on game and put them in a position to be successful from a scheme standpoint. Easier said than done!


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