Roy Exum: Bear’s Ten Commandments

Friday, August 14, 2009 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

This one is simply too delicious to ignore. As you may know, Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant was just picked third on a glitter list of the greatest coaches in any sport of all time. Coach Bryant has now been dead for 26 years, but in the Aug. 3 issue of The Sporting News, there is no room for doubt as he ranks with those at the very top as the greatest coaches ever.

What you may not know is that there is a very exclusive group of men today who belong to “The A List” and it is comprised of former players, coaches, managers, trainers and anybody else who was touched by Coach Bryant in the 25 years he became a legend at Alabama.

One of Coach Bryant’s top players is a man named Buddy Aydelette, who played on three Alabama teams in the late ‘70s that had a combined won-lost of 34-2 and won a couple of national championships. Aydelette was a dandy, playing at Green Bay before he wrecked his knee, and he was just inducted into the Hall of Fame in his hometown of Mobile, Ala.

What Aydelette has just done is to poll all 2,200 members of “The A List” with the query, “What do you think Coach Bryant’s ‘Ten Commandments’ might have been?” In other words, of all he said and taught and demanded, what do you think were his top ten rules?

Well, the crowd responded in a mighty way and Buddy – far from being sacrilegious – added the “Thou” and “shalt” in a fun way. Understand, those answering spanned 25 years so here are the top ten vote-getters:

Thou shalt write your Mama (honor your parents);
Thou shalt expect the unexpected; and,
Thou shalt show class, represent family, home and this university.
Thou shalt have a plan, for everything;
Thou shalt be courteous to the officials;
Thou shalt be on time, all the time;
Thou shalt play hard in the fourth quarter;
Thou shalt prepare yourself mentally, physically and spiritually;
Thou shalt show poise and confidence;
Thou art special because you are at Alabama.

Well, that’s how things really were. The first three “commandments “were on virtually every ballot. Almost as much fun were the other suggestions from “Bear’s Boys” that didn’t make the list. but still add further insight into arguably the best college coach of all time.

Ben Shurett, in a wonderful story that appeared in the Sand Mountain Reporter which is now the rage of the Internet, said these were among the other memories:

Thou shalt honor your God by praising him after every game;
Thou shalt not be ordinary;

Thou shalt trust your teammate to do his assignment, even as you will do yours;

Thou shalt never quit;

Thou shalt praise your opponent

Thou shalt surround yourself with people better than you;

Thou shalt give 110 percent on every play.

Thou shalt be loyal; work hard; not tolerate laziness; set goals; learn from others; not do it the easy way, but the right way; be willing to do what others will not do; have the will to prepare to win.

Thou shalt eat breakfast every morning, report to school in shape; be suspended for breaking team rules; strive to improve every day in every practice; respect all women; never wear a hat indoors; not visit places you should not visit.

So here’s the deal: If you want to be a success at real estate, move up from the scout squad on your high school football team, deliver a power-point presentation to a Fortune 500 company, sell the most Girl Scout cookies or “win” at just about anything, you keep Coach Bryant’s Commandments, as recalled by guys who are today ages 45 and up, as your guide.

So help me this stuff works just as good today as it used to down in Tuscaloosa.

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