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SHANE SHACKLEFORD: Alabama's Secret to Success....and The Hot Seat


Boy, that headline got your attention, didn’t it?

If you’re any type of SEC football fan and always look longingly at the University of Alabama’s football team’s success and wish “gosh, I wish our program in (insert SEC town here) had the secrets to winning and dominating,” you’re reading the right article.


Now I know you’re wondering how an old retired coach like me got my hands on this key information. I got it through an e-mail from a sports Website called Sports for the Soul.

That’s right. I got the keys to the kingdom in an e-mail.

Come to find out, the secrets to Alabama coach Nick Saban's success are simple ideas that him and his program do exceptionally well. Let’s look at the high points.

Saban (pictured) believes in something called “The Process.” The Process is, according to Saban, “a relentless focus on only the things that you can control.” The Crimson Tide mentor believes in not being distracted by the scoreboard and intimidated by an opponent or their strengths. He teaches his charges that they are responsible for what they create, not the other team. Whether things are going good or bad at any moment, Saban focuses his team on the process of becoming champions and nothing else.

No hidden secret, no magical formula and no special training.

Focus on things you control. No distractions and no intimidation or focus on what your opponent does well.

The process. Focus on the process.

Let me give you some quotes:

  • “Only concern yourself with what you do…”

  • “You must believe in who you are, what you are, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there…”

  • “Worry about the things you can control…”

  • “Every minute you worry about all the things you have no control over is a minute you have wasted…”

Not a lot I can add there. Powerful stuff.

In other news, the SEC is chock full of storylines right now. I’ll focus on one big one.

The coaching Hot Seat.

I was going to list the coaches on the Hot Seat for their jobs, but as I was looking at that list I found it was a lot easier to list the ones I think aren’t. The short list:

  1. Nick Saban, Alabama. This goes without question. My generation’s Bear Bryant.

  2. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State. How he gets passed over by “big time” schools is beyond me. Vastly underrated coach.

  3. Kirby Smart, Georgia. Has awakened an old money power in Athens. Don’t be surprised if the Dawgs are in the College Football Playoff this year.

  4. Will Muschamp, South Carolina. This is surprising to me. I figured he’d be sweating right now, but as long as he wins the close ones and records seven wins or so, he’s fine.

Every other SEC coach has either the naysayers about their program, the buzzards circling the carcass, or the moving vans in their driveway. There could be upwards of four or five open SEC jobs in the offseason. That’s a lot for the conference. After the dismissal of Florida coach Jim McElwain, I’m thinking Tennessee, Ole Miss, Missouri, and Arkansas will definitely be looking for coaches. Texas A&M could be, too.


Shane Shackleford is a retired teacher and coach residing in Speedwell, Tenn. You can contact Shane via e-mail at coachshack50@gmail.com, Facebook at Shane Shackleford, or follow him on Twitter @shack_daddy_1.


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