The following comes from the Montgomery Advertiser and is written by Cortez Strickland -- you can read the entire article here. The thoughts come from Nick Saban on the heels of some of the problems with athletes running into problems off the field. His comments speak to the essence of coaching.
“There’s a greater responsibility to have the kind of program that helps people make good choices and decisions,” Saban said. “Everyone is getting asked, ‘Are you responsible for every player in your program — their behavior?’ Everyone has to be responsible for their own self determination, to some degree, but that’s accountability."
“What we have to be responsible for, in my opinion, is setting up the structure and the kind of program. And define for those players what the expectations are for them personally, academically and athletically. So then they have something to understand that they have to be accountable, too. … I think changing their behavior is what we’re responsible for.”
“We can’t control what every guy does, but we can take every opportunity that we have as teachers and coaches to every circumstance to try and teach our players from it,” Saban said. “…We can provide structure, try to provide education, consequences for good and bad behavior so players will have enough foresight to do the right things."
“But at the end of the day, they have to make the right decisions and choices. They have to do it. We have to provide the guidance for that. We have to set an example for that. We have to provide leadership that will help them, and we got to care about them.”
Saban said having “character, quality” players increases a program’s chances of winning.
“I think that if you’re a disciplined person off the field, have good character off the field and you practice that every day and make good choices off the field,” he said. “You’ll make better choices on the field.”