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“Work Hard, Eat Well, Sleep Well, Play Well”

Via Roll Bama Roll, perhaps the most popular Alabama blog in the business, a letter from Bear Bryant to a yet-to-be-discovered player – first name of Chris – at some point during the early 1980s. How do we know the general time frame? As Roll Bama Roll notes, “the letterhead includes the 1979 National Championship, so it would have to be for a player on the team between 1980 and 1982.” Their guess? One Chris Meadows, a Birmingham product who played defensive end for Alabama from 1980-82. Per the experts at Roll Bama Roll, the letter seems legitimate: it is on then-customary Alabama stationary, writes Kleph – who is a walking encyclopedia of Alabama lore and a human calculator when it comes to football sabermetrics, by the way. The full text, since the picture doesn’t read well:

Dear Chris:

You will be expected to report for football practice August 17. We will expect you to arrive in the afternoon and our first meal will be served that evening at the dorm.

On the 18th, you will take your physical, including the mile run, get your room and locker assignments and participate in Photographer’s Day in the afternoon. Our first practice will be on the morning of the 19th.

I am expecting you to report in top physical condition, clean-cut, smiling, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and raring to go. Also, I am expecting you to be prepared to run, hit, pitch, kick, catch, sweat, smell and enjoy it. There are no easy ways but there are ways to enjoy the journey and we must find them.

I am also expecting you to work hard, eat well, sleep well, play well, display a winning attitude at all times, be a leader and help me sell the squad on what it takes to win and enjoy the journey.

I hope you will share your problems with me whether it be at home, at the dorm, in your school work, with teammates, with coaches, with training regulations, self-discipline or even flying a kite. If you do that, I will try to help you and, if I can’t, I’ll recommend you get a job, join the Army, or join the Foreign Legion, but, in any event, to reside in another state.

Nothing’s too good for winners. I want to love you, pat you, pet you, brag on you and see you hoot, run and shout and laugh, pray, hug, kiss, and win with humility.

If we lose, I want all of us to be unhappy, no one to have any fun, and expect only what is reserved for losers but take it with dignity while planning to come back.

Please remember us to your family and make your personal plans on how you are going to reach your goal – the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.


Paul Bryant

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  1. David says:


  2. David says:

    oops, hit “submit” too soon…

    I like how “Dear Chris” is not in line with the text of the letter.

    “Suzy, type x copies of this letter.”

    {some time later}

    “Mary, using this list, add ‘Dear [first name]‘ to these letters.”

    Old school mail merge.

  3. kleph says:

    thanks for the kudos, paul.

    and that would be linda knowles not “suzy,” david.

  4. quigley says:

    Truly a great leader.
    Work hard. Win with humility.
    Acknowledge that there will be ups and downs and offer support.
    Always come back

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